​Orthognathic (Jaw) Surgery

An improper bite usually requires the attention of an orthodontist, who uses braces to straighten or move your teeth. In some cases, however, the problem involves the jawbones, not just the teeth. When your jaw does not align correctly, you may need orthognathic surgery, or jaw surgery, because orthodontics alone cannot reposition the bone.

A misaligned jaw can be the result of a growth problem, traumatic injury, or pathologic process of the upper and/or lower jaw. It affects your appearance, but it can also impede your speech, chewing function, breathing, and overall oral health. Your dentist or orthodontist will recommend an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who can reposition your jaw with surgery.

What to Expect

Your first visits to your ColumbiaDoctors Dentistry oral and maxillofacial surgeon will focus on determining exactly if and what jaw surgery you need. We will collect data in the form of radiographs, measurements of the face and teeth, clinical photographs, and health history. We will answer any questions you or your family members may have, analyze the data and create models of your bite, and develop a comprehensive plan to correct the problem. Sometimes surgery involves repositioning only the upper jaw or lower jaw and sometimes both jaws have to be realigned. In either case we will work with you to develop a detailed timeline and plan.

Before the actual surgery occurs, you will need to work with your orthodontist to move your teeth into the correct position within the jaw bone. This typically involves six to twelve months of braces, during which time your surgeon will check on you periodically. When your teeth are close to alignment, we will schedule a date for your surgery.

When your teeth are aligned, new diagnostic records are obtained and computer assisted digital surgical planning is performed. You will be given detailed instructions for the days leading up to and the day of your surgery. Surgery will take place at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital or the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the top ranked hospitals in the country by US News and World Report. You can expect to stay in the hospital for one to two nights.

Approximately six weeks after surgery you will return to your orthodontist to finish aligning your teeth to the new jaw position. For the first 6 to 8 weeks after surgery your bones will be healing into their new location. You will be restricted to a diet of liquids and soft foods and your activity will be limited. You and your surgeon will discuss your return to full activity.

Why Choose ColumbiaDoctors Dentistry?

At ColumbiaDoctors Dentistry, our oral surgeons have extensive expertise in the area of orthognathic surgery and use the most advanced diagnostic and surgical techniques available today. To help you through the surgical process, we can illustrate your realignement with digital modeling so that you can see what the surgery will accomplish. We work closely with your orthodontist and your dentist throughout the process.