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Home/Blog / Don’t Be Out of Joint: Reconstructive Jaw Surgery May Be the Answer

Don’t Be Out of Joint: Reconstructive Jaw Surgery May Be the Answer

“Minor surgery is surgery someone else is having,” a man getting ready to have an operation once observed. While surgery is routine (more than 15 million Americans have surgery each year), it’s certainly not routine for you.

If you have moderate to severe jaw problems that can’t be resolved with orthodontics alone, it may be time to get the facts on the different types of corrective jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic (or-thog-NATH-ik) surgery, which realigns the jaws and teeth to improve the way they work and to improve your appearance. After all, research reveals patients who are well informed about their treatment have better surgical outcomes and are more satisfied with their results.

With that in mind, here’s a quick primer on three different types of reconstructive jaw surgery performed by an oral surgeon:

  1. Upper Jaw (maxillary osteotomy). This oral surgery may be performed to correct a crossbite, significantly receded upper jaw or open bite. During the procedure, the oral surgeon cuts the bone above your teeth so your jaw and upper teeth can be moved forward until they fit properly with the lower teeth. Once your jaw is realigned, the oral surgeon places tiny screws and plates to hold the bone in its new position.
  2. Lower Jaw (mandibular osteotomy). An oral surgeon can correct a significantly receded lower jaw by performing this procedure. During the oral surgery, the surgeon makes cuts behind the molars and lengthwise down the jaw bone so the jawbone can smoothly slide to its new position, where it’s held in place with screws until it heals.
  3. Chin Surgery (genioplasty). A severely receded jaw can be by fixed by this procedure, during which an oral surgeon cuts your chin bone and secures it in a new position. (Oral surgeons typically can alter the jaw the restructure the chin during the same oral surgery.)