Orthognathic surgery

Orthognathic surgery is an operation to correct the position of the upper and lower jaws to enable the teeth to meet together correctly and improve your facial profile. It involves a combination of orthodontic treatment and jaw surgery, and can take up to three years to complete.

Why do I need orthognathic surgery?

If the jaws are misaligned it is not always possible to correct the positioning of your teeth using orthodontics alone. Orthognathic surgery enables correction of larger jaw discrepancies. The surgery is carried out by the oral maxillofacial team.

Your maxillofacial surgeon and orthodontist will plan your treatment together. You may need to have your wisdom teeth removed before starting treatment and you will wear fixed braces for 18-24 months before surgery.

Your braces remain in position during the operation to help the surgeon position the jaws correctly. Small metal plates or screws are used to secure the new position of your jaws. The plates and screws lie beneath the gum and cannot be seen. 

After the operation

Your orthodontist will review your progress a week after surgery and make adjustments. The brace remains in place for up to 12 months, during which time the teeth are finely adjusted using elastic bands. Once the brace has been removed, retainers are fitted. You will continue to be reviewed in the joint clinic for two to five years.

After surgery it is likely you will experience some numbness, swelling and bruising. Swelling will be most severe 36-48 hours after surgery and will usually reduce over the next two weeks.

After surgery you may find it uncomfortable to breathe through your nose and may experience a sore throat.