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Understanding Orthognathic Jaw Surgery: When, Why, and How

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Imagine your jaw as the foundation of a house. If the foundation is misaligned, the whole structure can suffer. Orthognathic jaw surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is much like leveling a crooked foundation. It involves surgical procedures performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons to correct skeletal and dental irregularities, including misaligned jaws and teeth.

This surgery aims to improve bite and function, while also enhancing a patient’s appearance and addressing functional problems like chewing, speaking, and breathing. At South Calgary Oral Surgery, our expert team of oral surgeons is dedicated to helping you achieve this balance, enhancing both your health and confidence.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of orthognathic jaw surgery, covering when it’s needed, why you might consider it, and what the procedure involves. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of this transformative surgery and how it can benefit you.

When Is Orthognathic Jaw Surgery Needed?


man holds side of face in pain from severe TMJ disorder

Corrective jaw surgery, technically known as orthognathic surgery, is performed to correct an array of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth. Conditions that might require orthognathic surgery include:

  • Difficulty chewing or biting food

  • Chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headaches

  • Excessive wear of the teeth

  • Open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)

  • Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side

  • Birth defects or facial injury

  • Receding chin or protruding jaw

  • Inability to make the lips meet without straining

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, where advancing the jaws can open the airway and alleviate breathing issues at night


Signs It’s Time to Consider Orthognathic Jaw Surgery


Do you struggle with chronic jaw pain, difficulty chewing, or an imbalanced facial appearance? These could be signs that orthognathic jaw surgery is necessary. Typically, this surgery is considered when there are issues that cannot be corrected with orthodontics alone.

Conditions that might require orthognathic surgery include:

  • Severe Malocclusion: When your teeth don’t align properly.

  • Sleep Apnea: Correcting jaw alignment can alleviate breathing issues.

  • TMJ Disorders: Chronic jaw pain and discomfort.

  • Facial Injuries: Traumatic impacts that have misaligned the jaw.

  • Lower Jaw Deformities: Repositioning and aligning the lower jaw for functional and aesthetic improvements.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with an oral surgeon. Early diagnosis and intervention can prevent further complications.


The Impact of Ignoring Misalignment of Upper and Lower Jaws

Ignoring jaw misalignment can lead to a cascade of health issues. From chronic pain to digestive problems caused by improper chewing, the consequences are more than just cosmetic.

For instance, a misaligned jaw can cause severe wear and tear on your lower teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Moreover, the strain on your jaw muscles can result in frequent headaches and even migraines.

Don’t ignore persistent jaw pain or misalignment. Early intervention can save you from more severe health issues down the line.


Why You Should Consider Corrective Jaw Surgery


woman shows of results from reconstructive surgery to repair lower jaw and restore facial profile

Enhancing Quality of Life


Orthognathic jaw surgery can be life-changing. It not only corrects physical issues but also boosts your self-esteem by improving your facial symmetry, particularly by repositioning the upper jaw. Imagine the confidence that comes with a smile that looks and functions perfectly.

Patients often report significant improvements in their daily lives post-surgery. Tasks that were once difficult, such as chewing, speaking, and even breathing, become effortless due to the enhanced alignment of the upper jaw and lower jaw.

Think about how jaw surgery could enhance your daily experiences and consider a consultation to explore your options. A study published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery found that patients who underwent orthognathic surgery reported higher satisfaction in their quality of life, particularly in aspects related to oral function and appearance.

Long-term Health Benefits


The benefits of orthognathic surgery extend far beyond immediate physical improvements. A maxillofacial surgeon performs the surgery to correct skeletal and dental irregularities, realign jaws and teeth, and improve functional problems. Correcting jaw alignment can prevent future dental issues, reduce the risk of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), and even mitigate sleep apnea.

By addressing the root causes of these conditions, orthognathic surgery provides a permanent solution, reducing the need for ongoing treatments or interventions. Consider the long-term health benefits when evaluating the need for surgery. It’s an investment in your future well-being.

What Does Orthognathic Jaw Surgery Entail?


doctor stands in front of large screen of jaw images for virtual surgical planning

The pre-surgery journey for orthognathic jaw surgery begins with a comprehensive examination by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. This specialist will evaluate your jaw alignment, facial structure, and overall dental health. The surgeon will then collaborate with your orthodontist to develop a detailed treatment plan.

This plan often includes pre-surgical orthodontic treatment to align your teeth properly before the surgical procedures. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform the corrective jaw surgery, ensuring precise adjustments to improve function and aesthetics. Post-operative care is also managed by the surgeon, who will monitor your recovery and coordinate with other dental professionals as needed.

The Pre-Surgery Journey


Before undergoing orthognathic jaw surgery, you’ll embark on a comprehensive journey of preparation. This phase includes consultations, imaging studies, and possibly orthodontic treatment to align your upper and lower teeth in preparation for surgery.

During the initial consultations at South Calgary Oral Surgery, our team will conduct a thorough evaluation, including X-rays, 3D imaging, and dental impressions. This helps us create a customized surgical plan tailored to your specific needs.

The Surgical Procedure


On the day of the surgery, you’ll be under general anesthesia to ensure comfort. The surgery typically takes several hours, depending on the complexity of your case. During the procedure, your surgeon will make precise cuts in the jawbone to reposition it into the correct alignment. This may involve moving the upper teeth forward, rotating, or adjusting them to achieve optimal facial appearance and dental alignment.

Advanced techniques, such as computer-guided surgery, allow for greater precision and shorter recovery times. At South Calgary Oral Surgery, we utilize the latest technology to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients.

It is best to arrange for someone to accompany you on the day of surgery and help you during the initial recovery period.

Recovery and Aftercare


Post-surgery, the recovery process is crucial. You’ll need to follow a strict diet, avoid strenuous activities, and attend regular follow-up appointments to monitor your progress. Swelling and discomfort are normal but manageable with prescribed medications.

Our team at South Calgary Oral Surgery will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions and support you throughout your recovery journey. Stick to your post-surgery care plan diligently. Your adherence can significantly impact your recovery speed and overall results.

How South Calgary Oral Surgery Can Help


the team of doctors at South Calgary oral surgery


Our Expertise and Approach: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

At South Calgary Oral Surgery, our team of skilled oral surgeons has extensive experience in performing orthognathic jaw surgery. We combine expertise with a compassionate approach, ensuring that each patient feels supported and informed throughout their surgical journey.


Our state-of-the-art facility is equipped with the latest technology, enabling us to provide the highest standard of care. By prioritizing patient education, and ensuring you understand each step of the process, we ensure you feel confident in your treatment plan.

Success Stories from South Calgary Oral Surgery


Hearing from others who have undergone orthognathic jaw surgery can be incredibly reassuring. Many of our patients at South Calgary Oral Surgery have shared their transformative experiences, highlighting the significant improvements in both function and appearance.

One patient, Jane, shared, “Orthognathic jaw surgery at South Calgary Oral Surgery changed my life. I can chew properly, my jaw pain is gone, and I feel more confident than ever.”

According to a survey by the Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, patient satisfaction rates for orthognathic surgery are extremely high, with many reporting life-changing results.

Your Next Steps Towards a Balanced Jaw


patient and doctor discuss double jaw surgery with facial model and x-rays

Making the Decision


Deciding to undergo orthognathic jaw surgery is a significant step. It’s important to weigh the benefits, understand the process, and feel confident in your choice. At South Calgary Oral Surgery, we are here to guide you every step of the way, providing the information and support you need.

Start by scheduling a consultation with our team. During this visit, we’ll discuss your concerns, evaluate your needs, and develop a personalized treatment plan.

Embrace a Healthier, More Confident You


Orthognathic jaw surgery can be the key to unlocking a healthier, more confident version of yourself. By addressing functional issues and enhancing your appearance, this surgery offers a comprehensive solution that can transform your life.

At South Calgary Oral Surgery, we are committed to helping you achieve the best possible results. Our expert team is ready to support you through every stage of your orthognathic journey.



satisfied orthognathic jaw surgery patient who now has facial balance

Orthognathic jaw surgery is more than just a corrective procedure—it’s a pathway to improved health, function, and confidence. At South Calgary Oral Surgery, our dedicated team of oral surgeons is here to help you navigate this journey with expertise and compassion.

By understanding when this surgery is needed, why it’s beneficial, and what the process entails, you’re taking the first step towards a balanced and healthy jaw. Embrace the opportunity to enhance your quality of life and rediscover confidence in your smile.

Ready to learn more? Contact South Calgary Oral Surgery today to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards a brighter, healthier future.

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