Orthognathic Surgery

Corrective Jaw Surgery

Orthognathic surgery is needed when the top and bottom jaws don’t meet correctly, facial asymmetry is present, and/or teeth don’t adequately fit within the jaw. These misalignments may commonly referred to as underbites or overbites. Teeth are straightened with orthodontics, and corrective jaw surgery repositions the misaligned jaws. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.

before and after corrective jaw surgery

Who needs orthognathic surgery?

People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite, facial asymmetry, sleep apnea, or jaws that are positioned incorrectly. Most commonly, the top jaw or bottom jaw will grow less than the opposing jaw. The result can be a host of problems that may affect chewing function, speech, or 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.

model showing corrective jaw surgery

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 3D imaging and records. During the pre-treatment consultation process, Drs. Lohr or Hollabaugh will extensively review the planned procedure and welcome any questions that you have regarding your treatment. 

Technology & Orthognathic Surgery

Drs. Lohr and Hollabaugh use modern computer-aided techniques and three-dimensional models to plan your surgery. During your consultation appointment, we review your imaging so you can understand the surgery that will be performed and give you an idea of your cosmetic appearance following surgery.

If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, Drs. Lohr or Hollabaugh 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.

A patient getting a panoramic x-ray of her jaw

What to Expect

  • Corrective jaw surgery is a significant intervention requiring many months of preparation by your orthodontist. Drs. Lohr and Hollabaugh prefer to evaluate you before braces are started
  • Expect usually 1-2 years of braces before surgery depending on your case
  • Braces are maintained during surgery. Surgery is 1-4 hours and you may stay overnight in the hospital following 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. We will see you for weekly appointments for 6 weeks following surgery
  • Return to normal chewing starts at 6 weeks after surgery
  • Braces are completed after surgery and may take a few to several months

Our goal is to ensure you are well taken care of during and after surgery. For all patients undergoing surgery, we provide a thorough explanation and set of instructions for post-operative care, including dietary recommendations. For further questions or to schedule a consultation appointment, please contact our office today.