How is a jaw surgery performed?

Doctor's Answers (1)

Thanks for the question. As an oral & maxillofacial surgeon, jaw surgery is a very technical dental procedure that is under our dental specialty. Each successful case requires close teamwork and communication between an oral surgeon and orthodontist.

Your oral surgeon will first determine what type of corrective jaw surgical procedure is appropriate in your case. He/she is also the one carrying out the procedure.

I normally do a joint consultation with an orthodontist at our group practice for my patients so that they are clear of the entire process – orthodontics and surgery. During the consultation, a CT-scan and radiographs will be taken so that your dental condition can be correctly diagnosed.

The surgery portion is performed after the pre-surgical orthodontic phase is completed, when your teeth are in the correct surgical alignment.

Here are some common types of jaw surgery:

  • To correct an open bite: some of the bone in the upper jaw is removed and the upper jaw is secured in its new position
  • To correct a protruding lower jaw (underbite): bone in the back portion of the jaw is separated from the front and surgically modified so that the lower jaw can be moved back into proper alignment
  • To correct a receding lower jaw: the bone in the lower portion of the jaw is separated and modified so that a portion of the chin can be repositioned forward 

When the jaw is aligned, the new alignment will be held together with screws and plates underneath your gums. These screws and plates are osseointegrated and fully compatible with your body, hence there is no need to take them out. 

The surgery is mostly done from the inside of your mouth so that there are no scars on your face, chin, jaw and around the mouth. In some cases, a small cut may be made on the jaw, but it will eventually go away after a few weeks. 

You will be under general anesthesia during the surgery so that you are completely unconscious. 

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