Orthognathic surgery is a combination of jaw surgery and orthodontics. Correcting jaws that don't align properly is the most common reason for jaw surgery.
Jaw surgery is appropriate after growth stops, usually age 14 or 15 for females and between the ages of 17 and 21 for males.
The benefits of jaw surgery include:
Jaw surgery is almost always completed entirely inside the mouth. No facial scars show on your chin, jaw or around the mouth. The surgeon makes cuts in the jawbones so that they can be moved into the correct position. Once the jaws are properly aligned, screws and bone plates secure the bones into their new position.
In some cases, bone may need to be added to the jaw. It is transferred from your hip, leg, or rib and secured with temporary wires.
Jaw surgery is performed in the hospital and requires a two- to five-day stay. Complete recuperation at home typically takes three to six weeks.
In most cases, orthodontic braces are placed before surgery and worn through the recovery period. Braces are usually on for 9 to18 months prior to surgery to level and align the teeth. Once the jaw has healed sufficiently from surgery (typically six weeks after the date of surgery), your orthodontist will finish aligning your teeth and eventually remove the braces. The entire orthodontic process, including surgery, may last 12 to 24 months.