Jaw discrepancies with malocclusion are most commonly a result of unequal growth of the jaws, but may also be caused by trauma, tumors, or other disorders. While minor jaw discrepancies can sometimes be managed by orthodontics alone, more complex jaw deformities affect both function and facial appearance and require a combined surgical and orthodontic approach.
A maxillofacial surgeon and an orthodontist usually work as a team to evaluate and treat the problem in a comprehensive way. The main goals of orthognathic surgery are to achieve a correct bite, an aesthetic face. Nasal breathing problems may also be addressed at the time of surgery.
Orthognathic surgery is performed in a hospital or a surgery center under general anesthesia and usually requires an overnight stay. One or both jaws may be treated depending on the problem at hand. Time off from work or school will be required and is dependent on the unique situation of the patient’s needs.