Jaw Surgery

Correcting Misaligned Jaws

What is corrective jaw surgery?

Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a procedure in which we reposition severely misaligned jaws. Whether your misalignment is due to genetics, growth abnormalities, or trauma, as your oral and maxillofacial surgeon, we diagnose the underlying issues that are preventing your upper and lower teeth from meeting correctly and use orthognathic surgery to resolve the problem.

Orthognathic Surgery Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of orthognathic surgery, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to orthognathic surgery are discussed.

8 Reasons You May Need Jaw Surgery

  • Difficulty chewing, biting, or swallowing
  • Breathing or speech problems
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Excessive or uneven wear on teeth
  • Inability to close your mouth
  • TMJ or headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Protruding jaw or facial imbalance

Types of Jaw Surgery

What many patients don’t realize is that jaw surgery is actually a series of procedures rather than just one surgery. The procedures that you elect to have will be unique to you and your needs. The collection of techniques used to realign your bite may be performed on your chin, upper jaw, and/or lower jaw. The combination varies from patient to patient.

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Upper Jaw

A procedure on the upper jaw, also called a maxillary osteotomy, addresses crossbites, open bites, protruding or receding jaws, excessive or not enough teeth showing, and facial growth issues in the mid-facial region.

Lower Jaw

A mandibular osteotomy is surgery for the lower jaw and also deals with protruding or receding jaws. Like the upper jaw procedure, we separate bone from teeth and move the jaw as a unit to its new position before fastening it in place with screws and plates to heal.


We use a genioplasty, or chin surgery, to augment a receding chin. Similar to upper and lower jaw procedures, we fasten a piece of chin bone, that we’ve cut and positioned forward in place, with screws and plates.

Technological Advancements in Jaw Surgery

Thanks to advancements in technology, we use 3D imaging and the latest computer software to take an accurate and detailed image of your jaw in its current state and then create one that shows you what it will look like once treatment has been completed. Our cutting-edge tools, materials, and techniques minimize recovery time and maximize results.

Jaw Surgery Procedure

Since jaw surgery is typically a major surgery, we spend months preparing and consulting with you to ensure you receive a predictable and uneventful experience as well as optimal results. When you come in for outpatient jaw surgery which typically lasts 1-4 hours, we administer anesthesia and make sure you are comfortable. After surgery, we monitor any pain you may feel as you come off anesthesia, continuing to make you sure you are as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Recovery is a large part of jaw surgery, sometimes lasting for several months, and we go to great lengths to prepare you and keep a professional and careful eye on your healing and progress.

Recovery from Jaw Surgery

Your comfort and safety is our top priority, so we make an extra effort to aid in controlling any pain you experience while in our care and at home as the anesthesia wears off. We recommend you spend the first week or 2 focusing on your recovery by resting. Patients are usually ready to return to school or work within 3 weeks of surgery. We will schedule you for regular checkups for several months following the procedure, and complete healing takes place within 9-12 months.

A patient getting a panoramic x-ray of her jaw

What to Expect During Surgery

  • Corrective jaw surgery is a significant intervention requiring many months of preparation.
  • The surgery is performed in the hospital and can last between one to four hours.
  • Hospital stays of one to three days are normal.
  • Braces are maintained during surgery and may need to be removed six to twelve months after surgery.
  • The greatest impact of orthognathic surgery is the recovery phase.
  • Patients typically may be off work/school from two weeks to one month after surgery.
  • Return to normal chewing function may take 2 months and full
    function may take one year.
  • Our goal is to ensure you are well taken care of during and after surgery.
  • Weekly appointments are required for up to two months after surgery.