Jaw (Orthognathic) Surgery

Orthognathic (jaw) surgery is often needed when teeth don’t fit correctly because of improper or uncoordinated growth of the jaws. Orthognathic surgery is almost always performed in coordination with orthodontic treatment. Teeth are straightened with braces first, and then surgery repositions the jaws. This not only improves function, but can also have a positive impact on facial appearance.

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 even appearance. Injuries to the jaws 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


Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination with photographs, models and x-rays. During the consultation process, please feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment. When you are fully informed about the aspects of your care, you and the team of specialists treating you will make the decision to proceed with treatment together.

If you are a candidate for orthognathic surgery, Dr. Molen will work closely with your dentist and/or orthodontist during your treatment. The actual surgery can move your teeth and jaws into a new position that results in a more functional, healthy and attractive relationship between the teeth, jaws and soft tissues of the face.