Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery is an intensive procedure that requires careful consideration, ensuring that the patient has optimal chewing, talking, and smiling function after healing from the surgery. There are different reasons why jaw surgery might be necessary, including reconstruction after trauma or to correct structural abnormalities. The goal is to realign the jaw and teeth, helping to improve the way the upper and lower jaws work together. Additionally, jaw surgery can have an undeniable impact to change facial appearance, especially when a patient has a major feature to fix, such as a protruding lower jaw or other malformations. Minor or moderate issues can often be fixed using orthodontics. But some patients choose jaw surgery because there are no other options for the corrections that are necessary.

Yes Doctor’s Plastic Surgery Procedure Jaw Surgery

What is Jaw Surgery?

Jaw surgery, known as orthognathic surgery in the medical community, is an umbrella term for a variety of surgical interventions to correct abnormalities and structural issues with the jaw and facial bones. Sometimes surgery is necessary because a person is born with abnormalities or misalignments affecting function, including how they talk and chew. Other times, there are cosmetic reasons why jaw surgery might be recommended if the abnormalities impact a person’s overall appearance. Jaw surgery can also be a necessary requirement after a patient is in an accident or experiences some type of trauma, with surgery being a way to reconstruct the damaged areas in the jaw and facial region. An oral or maxillofacial surgeon performs jaw surgery, and the surgeon often works in collaboration with an orthodontist overseeing the patient’s case. Not only is the goal to improve jaw function, but it can also be an effective way to improve aesthetic issues related to the structure and appearance of the jaw area. Jaw surgery is usually only recommended when other treatment options are insufficient for correcting a patient’s jaw. For example, patients with severe misalignment of the teeth and jaw, as well as congenital or developmental conditions or facial asymmetry, can benefit from a correction of the jaw positioning to improve both function and aesthetics.

A thorough evaluation must be done before determining whether jaw surgery is necessary. This examination process includes x-rays of the teeth and face, 3D imaging, and digital models to plan the desired outcome of the surgery. When a surgeon completes a comprehensive assessment, they are able to create a detailed treatment plan that is uniquely designed to match each patient’s individual needs. Because the surgery is intensive, patients are put under general anesthesia to ensure they are comfortable and still during the operation. The surgeon will make incisions inside the mouth to minimize the visible appearance of scarring in the future. Sometimes, external incisions might be necessary and made in discreet locations, such as under the jawline. Specialized methods are used to reposition the jawbone and fix the misalignments. For example, the jaw might be moved forward or backward, or it might be necessary to place bone grafts to fill gaps where a portion of the jawbone is missing. The surgeon might need to stabilize the bones using plates, screws, or wires so that everything maintains the correct alignment during recovery. Usually, these surgical interventions are combined with orthodontics and restorative dentistry to create an optimal smile for each patient. The results can be transformative, but there is also a significant recovery time that lasts for a few weeks.

Types of Jaw Surgery

  • Which Jaw Surgery Procedure is Right for You?

    Every patient is unique, which is why each jaw surgery is carefully designed based on the patient’s individual needs. When you schedule a consultation with an oral surgeon, they can offer recommendations about the ideal procedures to improve your jaw structure and facial anatomy in order to overcome the issues that are being treated. Several common types of jaw surgery fall into this category. The first option is known as orthognathic surgery: a general approach to correct major jaw misalignments, including an underbite, overbite, or crossbite. The primary goal is to optimize the function of the jaw. Genioplasty falls more in the category of cosmetic surgery, with the objective being to reshape and reposition the chin in order to improve facial harmony and balance. Maxillary osteotomy focuses on the upper jaw. Mandibular osteotomy focuses on the lower law. Bimaxillary osteotomy involves repositioning both the upper and lower jaws and might be necessary for complex cases. Various factors need to go into the surgeon’s decision to pick the appropriate procedure based on the patient’s medical history, past treatments, diagnosis, facial analysis, and treatment goals. As the surgical team determines the ideal treatment plan, they will provide each patient with in-depth details about the procedure, including both risks and benefits. Then, the patient can make an informed decision about whether they would like to move forward with the procedure.

  • Maxillary Osteotomy

    When the surgery is repositioning the upper jaw (known as the maxilla), it is called a maxillary osteotomy. Different types of dental issues and misalignments can be corrected with this surgery, including a deficiency in the upper jawbone, a crossbite, or an open bite. As the upper teeth are repositioned, it improves alignment between both jaws and also creates a more balanced facial profile at the same time. In most cases, upper jaw surgery is combined with other orthodontic treatments in order to achieve the ideal results for each patient. The results are better bite function and improved facial harmony, which positively impacts the patient’s self-confidence.

  • Mandibular Osteotomy

    If the jaw surgery focuses on the lower jaw (called the mandible), it is known as a mandibular osteotomy. This procedure can be effective for treating conditions such as a receding chin, underbite, or overbite. As the mandible is repositioned, it improves dental alignment and the overall function of the jaw. The goal is to optimize how the teeth fit together while enhancing bite function and facial harmony. As with other types of jaw surgery, it’s common for mandibular osteotomy to be paired with orthodontic treatments in order to achieve the ideal results.

  • Genioplasty

    While other types of jaw surgery help to improve jaw function and create better dental alignment, there are also cosmetic reasons for a person to undergo surgery. Genioplasty is considered a cosmetic procedure targeting the chin, with the goal to improve facial alignment, balance, and a person’s profile. This chin surgery can be effective for addressing concerns that impact the appearance of the chin, such as excessive chin projection, a weak chin, or asymmetry. The surgeon will adjust the position of the chin bone and might make other surgical adjustments, such as shaving down the bone or adding grafts or implants in order to achieve the ideal facial profile. The desired outcome is to enhance the balance between the chin and other facial features to create a more pleasing appearance overall.

  • Bimaxillary Osteotomy

    In complex cases, it might be necessary to reposition both the upper and lower jaws. This in-depth jaw surgery addresses multiple misalignments, including several surgical techniques performed in the same surgical session. Repositioning both the maxilla (upper jaw) and mandible (lower jaw) can be a comprehensive correction for severe jaw misalignments and asymmetry concerns. Since this surgery is complex, it’s only recommended for patients with serious facial malformations or severe misalignments that can’t be treated with smaller jaw surgeries. The two-fold surgical intervention can result in improved bite function to allow a person better chewing and talking capabilities while also improving facial harmony.

Why Jaw Surgery?

Is it necessary to undergo jaw surgery? This procedure isn’t the right answer for everyone, especially when there are orthodontic treatments that can help correct mild or moderate misalignments. Here are some common reasons jaw surgery might be recommended: correcting severe misalignments that affect the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. Jaw surgery can help correct a crossbite, underbite, or overbite, especially when the misalignments are causing difficulties with the way a person speaks, chews, or breathes. As the jaws are repositioned, it improves bite function, making eating and talking more comfortable. Not only can functional benefits be gained through jaw surgery, but these procedures can also be beneficial for improving facial aesthetics at the same time. For example, improving facial symmetry by correcting a weak jaw or a protruding jaw can optimize the harmony and balance of facial features, which has a positive impact on a person’s self-confidence.

  • Correcting Jaw Misalignments
  • Improving Bite Function
  • Resolving Breathing Issues
  • Enhancing Facial Aesthetics
  • Boosting Self-Confidence

What are Concerns for Jaw Surgery?

As with any surgery, there are potential risks and concerns associated with jaw surgery. Even though potential benefits can be achieved, it’s important to talk to the surgeon about your unique needs in order to determine if jaw surgery is the ideal treatment for your desired outcome. Patients need to be fully informed about the potential complications that can occur, especially when complex conditions are being treated with comprehensive jaw surgery. Surgical risks are always a concern, including side effects from general anesthesia, bleeding, infection, or slow recovery. When the jawbones are being repositioned, there is a risk of nerve damage which could lead to a temporary or permanent change in the sensations of the chin, lips, or cheeks (including numbness). Every patient will experience discomfort, swelling, and bruising immediately after the surgery, and these side effects will usually go away within a few weeks. In rare cases, it’s possible that the jaw surgery doesn’t fix the desired problem or it causes new bite problems that need to be treated. In this situation, it might be necessary for a patient to have follow-up treatments or even a revision surgery, depending on the severity of the situation.

  • Surgical Risks

    There is no way to avoid surgical risks when a patient goes under the knife. But choosing an experienced and board-certified surgeon is an effective solution to reduce the risk of these complications. Always follow the surgeon’s recommendations before, during, and after the surgery in order to avoid potential risks and side effects. Proper wound care and rest during the recovery period is essential to help the jaw heal correctly. Also, it is important to contact your doctor right away if you notice any symptoms that could indicate a problem, such as bleeding or infection. Fast treatment can help to minimize the complications from these side effects.
  • Malocclusion Post-Surgery

    An experienced surgeon will be able to provide the best results and optimize a satisfactory outcome, but there is a possibility that malocclusion problems might continue after the surgery. It’s possible the original problem isn’t fixed correctly, and the jaw doesn’t heal as planned. Or, the surgery could lead to new bite problems. In rare cases, it’s possible that a relapse of the original condition could occur. Choosing an experienced surgeon is the best solution to improve the likelihood of a successful outcome. So, be proactive about talking to different surgeons and picking the provider with experience with the specific type of condition for which you need to be treated.
  • Emotional Impact

    For some patients, there is an emotional impact that comes from having such an intensive surgery. Not only will there be significant lifestyle impacts during recovery time, but the pain and healing can be challenging (depending on the extent of the surgery). During recovery, a patient must adjust their eating habits and daily activities to accommodate proper healing. Following a restricted diet can be difficult, especially if the patient is unable to chew for a few weeks. This emotional impact can be minimized by preparing yourself in advance to have realistic expectations for the recovery time and potential outcomes of the surgery.

Steps to getting your procedure


Step 1


Step 2

Matching with a doctor

Step 3

Getting financing

Step 4

Booking a consultation

Why Yes Doctor for Jaw Surgery

Yes Doctor offers multiple resources to help with your jaw surgery, as well as any other type of medical or cosmetic procedure that might be necessary. If you are looking for a surgeon who specializes in the type of jaw surgery you need, use our online directory to compare providers in the area. Additionally, we provide financing solutions for patients who need help paying for their procedures. If you don’t have insurance coverage or are worried about paying for your out-of-pocket costs, look into Yes Doctor financing for assistance with the cash you need upfront.

Frequently Asked Questions

Jaw surgery is a broad term that includes a variety of surgical procedures for the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. Often, patients can achieve a successful outcome with surgery on just one jaw to improve facial aesthetics, correct jaw misalignments, and improve functional concerns relating to how the jaw moves while chewing and talking. If a patient needs double jaw surgery, it means that the case is more complex, and the surgeon will be working on both the upper and lower jaws. This procedure isn’t as common but might be necessary when reconstructive surgery is needed after trauma or for complicated cases.
Every patient is unique, which is why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for any type of surgery. When a person is living with functional issues due to bite misalignments, then jaw surgery can be a life-changing procedure. Not only does jaw surgery correct serious issues affecting a person’s ability to eat and talk, but this procedure can also have a positive impact by creating a more balanced facial appearance. Additionally, many people find that their pain is alleviated, breathing problems are corrected, and their overall quality of life improves after jaw surgery.
The recovery period depends on the complexity of the treatment, as well as the patient’s age and healing rates. For example, younger patients recover more quickly than older adults. Following the surgeon’s recovery recommendations can help to speed up this process and optimize the overall outcome after jaw surgery. As a general rule of thumb, patients should expect between 6 – 8 weeks for the initial recovery phase. The swelling, bruising, and discomfort will subside during this time. It takes time to return to a regular diet once again. Most people need several months, or as much as a year, before achieving full recovery after jaw surgery.
In the immediate post-operative recovery time, patients will find that the initial swelling, bruising, and pain will start to go away within a few weeks. During this time, eating a modified diet of soft foods is necessary. Bone healing occurs, and the initial stages of healing happen as the jaws settle into the new position. The facial soft tissues will return to a more normal appearance within a few months. In many cases, it can take up to a year for full healing and recovery. The specific amount of time depends on the complexity of the patient’s case and other factors such as age and individual healing rates.