Corrective Jaw Surgery: Improving Oral Function and Facial Balance

Corrective Jaw Surgery

Corrective jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, involves repositioning the jawbones to address various dental and facial abnormalities, ultimately improving oral function, appearance, and overall health. Dr. Jarom E. Maurer, DMD, at Bozeman Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, boasts extensive experience and expertise in performing corrective jaw surgery procedures, working closely with orthodontists and other dental professionals to ensure optimal patient outcomes. This blog post will explore the instances in which corrective jaw surgery may be recommended, the consultation and assessment process, the surgery itself, and the recovery and results that can be expected.

Some of the most common dental and facial issues that corrective jaw surgery can address include misaligned jaws, overbites, underbites, crossbites, open bites, and facial asymmetry. These issues can lead to a range of complications, such as difficulty chewing, speaking, or breathing, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), sleep apnea, and cosmetic concerns. While orthodontic treatment alone can correct many dental misalignments, it often falls short in addressing severe jaw discrepancies, necessitating the intervention of corrective jaw surgery.

If you are experiencing problems related to jaw misalignment, consulting with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon like Dr. Maurer is a crucial first step. Dr. Maurer will perform a comprehensive assessment, including medical history, dental and facial examinations, and advanced imaging techniques, such as 3D X-rays, to determine if corrective jaw surgery is the most appropriate treatment option for your needs. Together with an orthodontist, Dr. Maurer will develop a customized treatment plan that addresses your specific dental and facial concerns and aligns with your goals and expectations.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the consultation and preparation process for corrective jaw surgery, the surgical procedure itself, the recovery timeline, and the lasting impact and results of the surgery on your oral health, functionality, and appearance.

Consultation and Preparation for Corrective Jaw Surgery

A detailed assessment and planning process is essential for achieving successful corrective jaw surgery outcomes. This phase typically involves:

  1. Medical and Dental Evaluation: A comprehensive review of the patient’s dental and medical history helps assess overall health and determine suitability for surgery.
  2. Diagnostic Imaging: 3D X-rays, CT scans, and dental models help analyze and plan the surgical procedure and surgical movements.
  3. Treatment Planning: Dr. Maurer, in collaboration with an orthodontist, will develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to the patient’s specific needs. This plan often incorporates pre-surgical orthodontic treatment to correctly position the teeth, followed by surgery and post-surgical orthodontic treatment for final alignment adjustments.
  4. Patient Education: Dr. Maurer will thoroughly discuss the treatment plan, surgical procedure, risks and benefits, recovery process, and expected results with the patient.

The Corrective Jaw Surgery Procedure

Corrective jaw surgery typically involves the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia: General anesthesia is administered to ensure patient comfort and safety during the procedure.
  2. Surgical Incisions: Dr. Maurer will make incisions inside the mouth to access the affected jawbone(s) in most cases; however, external incisions may sometimes be necessary in rare instances.
  3. Jawbone Repositioning: The surgeon will reposition the upper or lower jaw, or both, according to the pre-determined treatment plan. This may involve removing, adding, or reshaping sections of the jawbone to achieve the desired alignment and balance.
  4. Fixation: Once the jawbones are in the correct position, surgical plates, screws, or wires are used to hold them in place and ensure stability during the healing process.
  5. Closing Surgical Sites: The incisions are closed with sutures, typically dissolvable ones.

Post-Surgical Recovery and Timeline

Following corrective jaw surgery, patients can expect a recovery period of several weeks to months, depending on the complexity of the procedure and individual healing responses. Here’s what to expect during recovery:

  1. Hospital Stay: Patients typically require a 1-2-night hospital stay to ensure proper pain management, adequate nutrition, and postoperative care.
  2. Swelling and Discomfort: Swelling typically peaks within 48-72 hours and gradually subsides over the following weeks. Pain, on the other hand, can be managed with prescribed medications and tends to lessen within a week.
  3. Limited Diet: Patients may be restricted to a soft or liquid diet for an initial period post-surgery, followed by a gradual reintroduction of solid foods under Dr. Maurer’s guidance.
  4. Oral Hygiene: Diligent oral hygiene practices, including gentle tooth brushing and antibacterial mouth rinses, should be maintained during the recovery process.
  5. Activity: Patients should take at least one week off work or school, but may need more time depending on the nature of the surgery and their individual healing progress. Avoid strenuous activities and adhere to post-operative instructions to facilitate proper healing.
  6. Follow-Up Appointments: Routine follow-up appointments with Dr. Maurer and your orthodontist are crucial for tracking healing, progress, and post-surgical orthodontic adjustments.

Long-Term Impact and Results of Corrective Jaw Surgery

Undergoing corrective jaw surgery is a life-changing decision that yields numerous lasting benefits. Some of the typical results include:

  1. Improved Oral Function: Corrective jaw surgery can significantly improve chewing, biting, speaking, and breathing function for patients who had difficulty with these functions pre-surgery.
  2. Aesthetic Enhancement: The procedure can produce a more balanced and harmonious facial appearance, boosting patients’ self-confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Relief from Pain and Discomfort: Many patients experience decreased pain and discomfort associated with misaligned jaws, TMJ disorders, or sleep apnea after surgery.
  4. Long-Lasting Results: Corrective jaw surgery yields permanent results, unlike non-surgical treatment options that may only provide temporary relief from symptoms.


Corrective jaw or TMJ surgery is a highly effective procedure for addressing various dental and facial abnormalities, leading to lasting improvements in oral function, appearance, and overall health. Dr. Jarom E. Maurer and the team at Bozeman Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery are dedicated to providing personalized and comprehensive care, ensuring the best possible outcomes for their patients. If you or a loved one is experiencing difficulties related to jaw misalignment or facial imbalance, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation to explore treatment options and begin your journey toward enhanced oral health and function.