Orthognathy

Indications: Trauma, arthritis, ankylosis, congential condition, cosmetic

Description: Orthognathic surgery is corrective jaw surgery which realigns poorly fitting upper and lower jaws.  Orthognathic surgery literally means “jaw straightening” surgery (gnathos – jaw, ortho-straighten).  This is a very sophisticated form of treatment which is usually performed by a specialist with training in corrective jaw surgery. 

Orthognathic surgery is used to correct three types of problems:

Functional (bad bite)

These procedures are commonly used to correct bite problems (malocclusion) which are too great to correct with orthodontic treatment (braces) alone.  For example, the lower jaw and teeth may be too far back (under-bite) or too far forward.  The upper jaw and teeth may also be too far forward or back.  Correction of these problems will usually result in better chewing, and sometimes better speech.

Cosmetic (appearance)

In a certain number of people an “underbite” or “overbite” condition exists which results in one or both of the jaws being too “long” or “short”, resulting in less than ideal cosmetic appearance with an imbalance of facial features.  The upper jaw may be too long with excessive display of gum tissue with smiling.  There also may be an asymmetry (crookedness) to the lower face.  If the imbalance of the jaws is corrected, usually there is a noticeable improvement in the cosmetic appearance.

TMJ (jaw joint) problems

In other individuals the jaw disharmony or malocclusion will result in a painful condition of one or both Temporomandibular joints (clicking, popping, limited oral opening, jaw, head and neck pain).  With realignment of the jaws the joint condition will often improve.  Dental splint therapy may be necessary before either orthodontic treatment or jaw surgery.

Post-procedure care:Compressive and Thermal therapy for pain and swelling, pain medication, soft foods, follow up visits

(Please see our Post-surgical Rehabilation page for more information.)

Orthognathic surgeries include sagittal split osteotomy, Lefort I osteotomy,  and genioplasty.

More information can be found in the "A Patient’s Guide to Orthognathic Surgery".

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