Orthognathic Surgery: Enhancing Your Oral Health, Function, and Aesthetics

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is a specialized procedure performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons like Dr. Jarom E. Maurer, DMD, at Bozeman Oral Surgery and Implant Center. This type of surgery aims to correct various dental and skeletal abnormalities that affect the alignment and function of the jaw. Patients who suffer from jaw misalignment may experience issues with chewing, speaking, or breathing and may also be self-conscious about their facial appearance. By correcting these issues, orthognathic surgery can not only improve functionality but also enhance overall facial aesthetics.

In this blog post, we will explore the various conditions that may necessitate orthognathic surgery, the steps involved in the surgical process, and the expected outcomes of this procedure. We will also discuss the crucial role of pre-surgical planning and collaboration between your oral and maxillofacial surgeon, orthodontist, and other dental professionals in achieving successful outcomes.

Orthognathic surgery is typically recommended when non-surgical interventions, such as orthodontic treatment, cannot adequately address the underlying jaw issues. Some of the common conditions that may require orthognathic surgery include overbites, underbites, open bites, and facial asymmetry. Besides addressing functional concerns, corrective jaw surgery can also help balance facial proportions and improve overall aesthetics.

Throughout this blog post, we will delve into various aspects of orthognathic surgery, including the comprehensive evaluation and consultation process, surgical techniques, expected recovery timelines, and post-surgical care. By gaining a better understanding of what is involved in corrective jaw surgery, patients can be better equipped to make informed decisions regarding their oral health and overall well-being.

Conditions That May Require Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery is typically considered for patients experiencing functional difficulties or aesthetic concerns due to jaw misalignment. Some common conditions that may necessitate corrective jaw surgery include:

  1. Overbite: An excessive overbite occurs when the upper jaw significantly overlaps the lower jaw, resulting in an imbalanced bite and potential difficulty chewing, speaking, or breathing.
  2. Underbite: An underbite occurs when the lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw, causing similar functional issues as an overbite and potentially contributing to uneven wear on the teeth.
  3. Open Bite: In an open bite, the upper and lower teeth don’t meet when the mouth is closed, which can lead to difficulty chewing, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, and speech problems.
  4. Facial Asymmetry: Some individuals may have noticeable asymmetry in the jaw or face due to congenital conditions, growth abnormalities, or trauma, which can be addressed through orthognathic surgery.
  5. Sleep Apnea: In cases of severe sleep apnea, where conservative treatments are insufficient, orthognathic surgery that repositions the jaws can help improve airway function and alleviate symptoms.

The Comprehensive Evaluation and Consultation Process

A successful orthognathic surgery outcome relies on careful planning and collaboration between your oral and maxillofacial surgeon, orthodontist, and other dental professionals. The evaluation and consultation process typically involves:

  1. Clinical Examination: A thorough examination of your oral health, bite, and jaw function will help determine the extent and nature of your jaw misalignment.
  2. Medical and Dental History: A review of your medical and dental history can reveal any underlying health conditions or dental issues that may impact your candidacy for surgery.
  3. Diagnostic Imaging: Dental X-rays, 3D CT scans, and other imaging techniques allow your dental professionals to assess the position of your teeth and jaw, as well as identify any additional abnormalities.
  4. Treatment Planning: Based on your individual needs and goals, your oral surgeon and orthodontist will develop a customized treatment plan that outlines the necessary steps to achieve optimal results.

Orthognathic Surgical Techniques

There are several surgical techniques used in orthognathic surgery, which depend on the nature and extent of the jaw misalignment. Some common approaches include:

  1. Le Fort I Osteotomy: Performed on the upper jaw (maxilla), this technique involves making precise cuts in the bone to reposition the maxilla to a pre-determined location.
  2. Bilateral Sagittal Split Osteotomy (BSSO): This procedure repositions the lower jaw (mandible) by precisely splitting the bone and aligning it to the correct position.
  3. Genioplasty: Performed on the chin bone, genioplasty repositions the chin to improve facial balance in conjunction with jaw surgery.
  4. Distraction Osteogenesis: This innovative technique is used to create new bone by gradually separating two bony segments, allowing new bone to grow in the space created.

Expected Recovery Timelines and Post-Surgical Care

Recovery from orthognathic surgery typically occurs in several stages, lasting up to several months. Some key aspects of the recovery process include:

  1. Immediate Post-Surgery: Swelling, discomfort, and limited jaw function can be expected for the initial 1-2 weeks, with most swelling subsiding after three weeks.
  2. Restricted Diet: A gradual return to solid foods is advised, beginning with a liquid or soft food diet for the first few weeks, followed by a careful reintroduction of more challenging textures.
  3. Medications: Pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to reduce discomfort and swelling, along with any required antibiotics to prevent infection.
  4. Oral Hygiene: Maintaining proper oral hygiene during recovery is essential, with modified cleaning techniques (such as using a child-sized toothbrush or water flosser) to ensure the surgical site remains clean.
  5. Follow-up Appointments: Regular visits with your oral surgeon and orthodontist will allow for monitoring of your recovery progress and the opportunity to address any concerns that may arise.


Orthognathic surgery offers life-changing improvements for patients who require dental and facial corrections. By working closely with Dr. Jarom E. Maurer and the team at Bozeman Oral Surgery and Implant Center, you can confidently proceed with corrective jaw or TMJ surgery to achieve your desired outcomes in both function and aesthetics. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your options and take the first step towards a healthier and happier smile.