Orthognathic Surgery (Jaw Surgery)

Orthognathic surgery is performed to correct conditions of the jaw and face related to skeletal abnormalities that cannot be treated optimally with orthodontic braces alone.  Ortho means “to straighten”.  Gnathic means “jaw”.  Orthognathic surgery is performed when the upper and the lower jaws do not meet correctly and/or the teeth do not fit within the jaws.   A team approach consisting of an experienced orthodontist and a skilled oral & maxillofacial surgeon is required.  These procedures correct skeletal incompatibilities, positions the teeth in proper alignment, and results in the correct facial profile and appearance.

People who 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 and lengths.  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 is necessary when the jaw growth is misaligned.  

Patients with the following characteristics should be evaluated:

  • Difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • Open bite
  • Protruding jaw
  • “No chin” phenomenon
  • Breathing problems
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

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. A consultation prior to treatment will consist of x-rays and facial measurements. Please feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment during the process.

If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, Dr. Medel 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.