Orthognathic Surgery and Revision Jaw Surgery

Corrective Jaw Surgery with Braces or Invisalign.

Orthognathic surgery is an involved procedure not performed by most oral & maxillofacial surgeons. Many offices tend to dabble in this procedure performing a handful each year.  At Arizona Jaw Surgery, we do jaw surgery. And nothing else.

Orthognathic surgery is needed when the top and bottom jaws don’t align correctly. Teeth are straightened with orthodontics, and corrective jaw surgery repositions the misaligned jaw or jaws. This not only ensures teeth align and function properly, but also often improves facial appearance and breathing. 

Orthognathic Surgery Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of orthognathic surgery, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to orthognathic surgery are discussed.

Who needs orthognathic surgery?

People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite, or misaligned jaws. The result can be a host of problems that may affect chewing function, speech, or long-term oral health and appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct minor bite problems when only the teeth are involved. However, when the size and alignment of the jaws are mismatched, orthognathic surgery may be required.

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

Prior to any treatment, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination with x-rays. During this process, feel free to ask any questions regarding your treatment and plan. When you have a good understanding and are comfortable with the plan, you and your team can proceed with treatment together.

Technology & Orthognathic Surgery

Dr. Wasson uses the most up-to-date technology, materials, and techniques.  Many offices make this claim but often fall well behind. 3D CT scanning, digital impressions (no more choking on impression material), 3D surgical planning, 3D printing, and performing orthognathic surgery with clear aligners (Invisalign) are becoming the modern standard.  Yet, we are the only office in Arizona that exclusively utilizes these modern computer-aided techniques for corrective jaw surgery. Using comprehensive facial x-rays and computer video imaging, we can show you how your bite will be improved and even give you an idea of how you’ll look after surgery. This helps you understand the surgical process and the extent of the proposed treatment. Read more about the technology that sets us apart.

If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, Dr. Wasson will work closely with your dentist and orthodontist to formulate your plan and monitor your progress the entire duration of your care. The actual surgery can move your teeth and jaws into a new position that results in a more attractive, functional, and healthy dental-facial relationship.

Revision Jaw (Orthognathic) Surgery

As one of only a handful of practices in the United States solely dedicated to jaw surgery, Dr. Wasson sees numerous revision jaw surgery cases each year.  The need for revision jaw surgery can be due to several factors including but not limited to:

1. Complications from the previous surgery including

  • Poor healing resulting in the jaws being unstable (non-union, mal-union, or fibrous union)
  • Nerve injury that may require repair
  • Issues with fixation hardware (plates and screws used to secure the jaws to their new position) including loosening, infection, or irritation. 

2. Unsatisfactory esthetic results

  • Some negative esthetic results are unable to be completely resolved due to numerous factors including surgical technique and the patient’s existing facial features and biology.  However, if the esthetic outcome of orthognathic surgery was not discussed prior to the surgery so expectations where realistic or the outcome is different than intended, revision jaw surgery may be warranted. 

3. Relapse or poor occlusal stability

  • Numerous factors can contribute to relapse or poor occlusal stability. Development of TMJ issues, continued growth, surgically halted growth, poor healing, inadequate orthodontic retention, osteoarthritis, and several other issues can result in an initially satisfactory result becoming an unsatisfactory one. 

4. Development or exacerbation of TMJ issues

  • TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) conditions can occasionally lead to issues with orthognathic surgery. 
  • Patients with existing TMJ disorders where the TMJ disorder is not addressed/treated prior to or at the same time as orthognathic surgery may develop worsening of their TMJ condition that leads to a need for revision jaw surgery and/or TMJ Surgery.
  • Although possible, patients with no history of TMJ disease tend not to develop them after orthognathic surgery. In the instance this does occur,  if the TMJ condition is able to be treated and controlled then often no further intervention is required.  If the TMJ disorder is persistent or leads to degenerative TMJ conditions such as osteoarthritis or Idiopathic Condylar Resorption, then TMJ surgery and/or revision jaw surgery may be needed. 
A patient getting a panoramic x-ray of her jaw

What to Expect

  • Corrective jaw surgery is a significant intervention often requiring many months of preparation.
  • The surgery can last between one to five hours.
  • An overnight hospital stay is often required.
  • Surgery Can be performed with braces or Clear Aligners (Invisalign).
  • The greatest impact of orthognathic surgery is the recovery phase.
  • Patients typically may be off work/school from 1-3 weeks  after surgery.
  • Return to normal chewing function may take close to 2 months.
  • Our goal is to ensure you are well taken care of during and after surgery.
  • We will see you regularly after your surgery to ensure you are recovering as expected and answer any questions you might have.