Orthognathic Surgery (Jaw Surgery)

Orthognathic surgery is needed when jaws don’t meet correctly and/or teeth don’t seem to fit with jaws. Teeth are straightened with orthodontics and corrective jaw surgery repositions a misaligned jaw. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?

People who can 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. 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 may be required for the jaws when repositioning in necessary.

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 x-rays. During the pre-treatment consultation process, feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment. When you are fully informed about the aspects of your care, you and your dental team can make the decision to proceed with treatment together.

Technology & Orthognathic Surgery

Dr. Katz uses modern computer techniques and three-dimensional models to show you exactly how your surgery will be approached. Using comprehensive facial x-rays and computer video imaging, we can show you how your bite will be improved and even give you an idea of how you’ll look after surgery. This helps you understand the surgical process and the extent of the treatment prescribed. Our goal is to help you understand the benefits of orthognathic surgery.

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

Before and After Pictures of Jaw Surgery by Dr. Ronald Katz

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Our Process for Corrective Jaw Surgery

 The First Steps 

The first step to achieving beautiful results with corrective jaw surgery is scheduling a consultation with your surgeon at Boca Jaw Surgery.

During your consultation, you and your doctor will discuss your jaw problems and treatment goals, review your medical history, perform an oral evaluation, and take all the imaging necessary to build an ideal treatment plan.  

Your initial consultation is also the ideal time to discuss any hesitations or concerns you have with the procedure, including the procedure risks, benefits, alternatives, and costs. All in all, you can expect your initial corrective jaw surgery consultation to take around two hours. 

After your consultation, we work with your orthodontist to create a personalized treatment plan that helps you achieve your overall goals. Once we finalize your treatment, our practice will contact your insurance provider to obtain authorization and discuss the financial details with you. 

Furthermore, depending on your treatment plan, it may be necessary to prepare your mouth for surgery by aligning your teeth with braces or retainers. When your orthodontist gives you the all-clear, we will schedule a return visit and set a date for your surgical procedure. 

The Surgery 

Once your teeth are optimally aligned and prepared for corrective jaw surgery, it is time to schedule your pre-surgical appointment. At this visit, our team will take comprehensive facial x-rays and use state-of-the-art computer video imaging to create a virtual model of your teeth and facial skeleton. 

Computerized treatment planning minimizes treatment times, decreases your recovery period, and improves your surgery’s overall efficacy and accuracy. Furthermore, with this advanced technology, we can show you in great detail how your jaw will be improved and even give you an idea of how you’ll look after surgery. 

When your surgery date arrives, it will take place at our accredited surgery center, and we will place you under anesthesia, which maximizes your safety and comfort during the procedure. 

After anesthesia is administered, your surgeon will reposition your jaw to suit your individual needs. Depending on your treatment plan, your doctor can add, reshape, or remove the bone. Your surgeon may also use screws, surgical plates, rubber bands, and wires to secure your jaws in their new locations. In most cases, incisions are made inside your mouth to reduce noticeable scarring.

Recovery Phase

Following your corrective jaw surgery, you will likely experience facial swelling, bruising, and soreness. Facial swelling will peak around day two or three and then continue to subside within the first few weeks of your recovery. To minimize the swelling, we recommend you apply ice packs in intervals of twenty minutes on and off and keep your head elevated. To help with any discomfort, your doctor will prescribe you pain medication. 

You can expect your discomfort to improve with each passing week. After about one week of recovery, you will meet with your surgeon for a follow-up assessment that examines how your jaw is healing. 

Regarding your diet after corrective jaw surgery, you can expect to be put on a liquid diet for the first week and then a soft foods diet for around eight weeks or until your jaw heals. When on a liquid diet, we recommend broth, juice, and liquid protein drinks. No smoking is allowed during your recovery period, as this can significantly impact your body’s healing abilities. 

Generally, our surgeons recommend taking one to three weeks off from school or work. However, this depends on the extent of your surgical procedure. Your surgeon will discuss their recommendations with you in more detail at your pre-surgery appointment.