Orthognathic Surgery (Jaw Surgery)

Orthognathic surgery is needed when jaws don’t meet correctly and/or teeth don’t seem to fit with jaws. Teeth are straightened with orthodontics and corrective jaw surgery repositions a misaligned jaw. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?

People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly. Jaw growth is a gradual process and in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. The result can be a host of problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health and appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved. Orthognathic surgery may be required for the jaws when repositioning is necessary.

Difficulty in the following areas should be evaluated:

  • Difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • Open bite
  • Protruding jaw
  • Breathing problems

Any of these symptoms can exist at birth, be acquired after birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences, or as a result of trauma to the face. Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination with x-rays. During the pre-treatment consultation process, feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment. When you are fully informed about the aspects of your care, you and your dental team can make the decision to proceed with treatment together.

Technology & Orthognathic Surgery

Dr. Rudd uses modern computer techniques and three-dimensional models to show you exactly how your surgery will be approached. Using comprehensive facial x-rays and imaging, we can show you how your bite will be improved and even give you an idea of how you’ll look after surgery. This helps you understand the surgical process and the extent of the treatment prescribed. Our goal is to help you understand the benefits of orthognathic surgery.

If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, Dr. Rudd will work closely with your dentist and orthodontist during your treatment. The actual surgery can move your teeth and jaws into a new position that results in a more attractive, functional, and healthy dental-facial relationship.


Video Transcription

Corrective Jaw Surgery is a procedure that is done to help correct a skeletal deformity. What that means is that the jaws grew in a way there's some imbalance to the bite. So the lower jaw may have grown too far forward or the upper jaw may not have grown far enough. And corrective jaw surgery is where we're able to actually reposition the bone so that the teeth line up, and that leads to a healthier bite. It also leads to a kind of a more cosmetic facial appearance as well. So there's some really nice benefits to corrective jaw surgery. I'm really excited about the technology-aspect of corrective jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery. And that's changed significantly, just in the time that I've been practicing. When I started, we would do all of the workup with models, and we'd use two-dimensional X-rays and some numbers from two-dimensional X-rays. Nowadays, all of this treatment is planned in three-dimensions using Cone Beam technology or other three-dimensional kinds of X-rays. And the guides that we use during the surgery are also milled or fabricated off of three-dimensional planning. So the planning is significantly more advanced and also the accuracy is incredible. It's really an awesome and exciting part of oral maxillofacial surgery. So you can actually combine procedures during orthognathic or corrective jaw surgery. There are times when wisdom teeth are removed at the same time. There are times that if someone has a little bit of a weak chin, that weak chin could be corrected to be stronger. Not only are we moving the bones to make the bones line up more correctly, but we're also correcting misalignment of the teeth. And so another benefit is that the teeth look more aesthetic after the surgery. Orthognathic or corrective jaw surgery is typically done in a hospital setting. So there is some workup that's involved. It will involve a consultation here in our office, collaboration between our office and an orthodontist, and it will involve a procedure that is done in the hospital. So there's typically a night, or two nights in some cases, of recovery in the hospital. And then there's a period of time where patients are asked not to chew with their teeth because that could injure the healing bone. So there would be a period of several weeks where patients are kind of sticking to a soft diet and often have some rubber bands on the teeth that help hold them in the right position during the early healing phase.