Jaw surgery may be performed on the upper jaw, lower jaw or both.
A maxillary osteotomy is performed to correct any of the following issues:
In this procedure, the surgeon makes bone cuts inside the mouth above the teeth and below both eye sockets so the entire top jaw, including the roof of the mouth and all upper teeth, can move as one unit. The teeth and jaw are moved forward until the upper and bottom teeth fit together properly.
Once the jaw is realigned, tiny screws and bone plates hold the bone in its new position. These screws are smaller than a bracket used for braces and become integrated into the bone structure over time.
A person who has an open bite (apertognathia) has difficulty chewing due to a significant space between the upper and lower front teeth when the molars are completely touching. This gap results from excess bone growing only above the molars. What is normally a flat, even surface is angled instead so the upper teeth do not touch when a person bites down. To remedy this condition, surgeons shave away or remove the excess bone.
A significantly receded lower jaw (retrognathia) can be corrected by a procedure called mandibular osteotomy (bilateral sagital split ramus osteotomy).
In this procedure, the surgeon makes cuts behind the molars and lengthwise down the jawbone so the front of the jaw can move as one unit. As a result, the jaw slides smoothly to its new position. Screws hold the jawbone together until it heals.
A severely receded lower jaw is often accompanied by a deficient chin. This condition can be remedied with a procedure called genioplasty (mandibular anterior-inferior border osteotomy). Typically, surgeons can alter the jaw and restructure the chin during the same surgery.