Corrective Jaw Surgery (Orthognathic Surgery)
Orthognathic surgery is needed when jaws don't meet correctly and/or teeth don't fit properly with jaws. 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.
Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?
People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly. If the facial skeleton is not harmonious there can be a host of problems that can affect chewing, breathing, speech, long-term oral health, and appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. While orthodontics alone can correct many bite problems if only the teeth are involved, orthognathic surgery may be required if the jaws need repositioning.
Situations that lend themselves to combined orthodontic and surgical treatment include:
Apertognathia is a situation when the back teeth meet but the front teeth do not touch. This space causes difficulty in biting with the front teeth
Prognathia is a situation where the lower jaw is too large and grows too far forward. Surgery can be used to slide the lower jaw back.
Retrognatia is a situation where there is a "severe" overbite. Surgery can be used to slide the lower jaw forward.
Vertical Maxiallary Excess is most obviously seen as a gummy smile. In this case the upper jaw has grown too far down. Surgery can move the jaw upward to create a much nicer looking smile and a more harmonious face.
Your initial step to see if you are a candidate for Corrective Jaw Surgery is a consultation with an orthodontist. If you would like to pursue the surgery your orthodontist will then refer you to Dr. Young for a comprehensive consultation.
Please also see our section on Chin Surgery (genioplasty).