Orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery) is needed when jaws don't meet correctly and/or teeth don't seem to fit with the jaws. Teeth are straightened with orthodontics and corrective jaw surgery repositions a misaligned jaw. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?

People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly. Jaw growth is a gradual process and in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. The result can be a host of problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health, and appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved. Orthognathic surgery may be required for the jaws when repositioning is necessary.

Difficulty in the following areas should be evaluated:

  • Difficulty in chewing, biting, or swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • Open bite
  • Protruding jaw
  • Breathing problems

Any of these symptoms can exist at birth, be acquired after birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences, or be the result of trauma to the face. Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination with x-rays. During the pre-treatment consultation process, patients should feel free to ask any questions regarding treatment. When fully informed about the aspects of care, the patient and the dental team can make the decision to proceed with treatment together.  

Technology & Orthognathic Surgery

Drs. Benninger, Schween, and Schmidt use modern computer techniques and three-dimensional CT scans to show exactly how each surgery will be approached. This helps in understanding the surgical process and the extent of the treatment prescribed. Our goal is to help patients understand the benefits and process of orthognathic surgery.

If a patient is a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, Drs. Benninger, Schween, and Schmidt will work closely with his or her dentist and orthodontist during treatment. The actual surgery can move the teeth and jaws into a new position that results in a more attractive, functional, and healthy dental-facial relationship.

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