Do I Need Corrective Jaw Surgery?

Think you may need corrective jaw surgery? If so, it may be because you were born with a birth defect, have chronic jaw or jaw joint pain, have a tumor or pathology affecting the jaw, or have an open bite or protruding jaw. There are many problems that can be fixed with corrective jaw surgery. However, corrective jaw surgery (also known as orthognathic surgery) is normally only recommended after other, less invasive treatments have failed. 

Signs You May Need Corrective Jaw Surgery 

There are many reasons someone may need corrective jaw surgery. Common reasons include:

  • Snoring
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Protruding jaw
  • Speech problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Small chin/retruded jaw
  • Excessive wear of teeth 
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Unbalanced facial appearance 
  • Jaw, chin, and nose misalignment
  • Open bite (teeth don’t touch together)
  • Repairing a facial injury or birth defect 
  • Difficulty chewing, biting, or swallowing
  • Pain caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

Any of these are viable reasons to have corrective jaw surgery. If you have any of these symptoms, then you should see your doctor to find out if you could benefit from corrective jaw surgery. 

Benefits and Risks of Corrective Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery is usually safe when done by an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon. An orthodontist who specializes in orthodontic services will usually assist. Corrective jaw surgery can improve your everyday life, but as with anything, there are benefits and risks to it. 


  • Pain relief 
  • An improved bite
  • Improved sleep 
  • Improved function of your teeth
  • Reduced wear on the jaw and teeth 
  • Improvement in speech impairments
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence
  • Balanced and improved appearance of your face
  • Health benefits from improved breathing, chewing and swallowing


  • Blood loss
  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Jaw fracture
  • Need for further surgery
  • Loss of a portion of the jaw
  • Problems with bite fit and jaw joint pain
  • Relapse of the jaw to the original position
  • Need for root canal therapy on selected teeth

Before and After Surgery 

If you think you may need corrective jaw surgery, then it’s important to know what to expect before and after the surgery. 


In most cases, before corrective jaw surgery, you’ll get braces that you’ll wear for 12-18 months. This is done to level and align your teeth in preparation for surgery. Then, you’ll meet with your oral surgeon to go over your medical history, take facial measurements, photographs, x-rays, dental impressions, and a bite recording. Three-dimensional CT scanning, computer-guided treatment planning, and temporary orthodontic anchoring devices may be used to help with the movement of teeth and decrease your time wearing braces. Fortunately, these efforts can completely eliminate the need for jaw surgery in some cases. If you do need to proceed with surgery, it’s usually done under general anesthesia and completed in the hospital. It usually requires about a two- to four-day stay. 


After your surgery, you can expect to be sore. You may feel numbness, limited jaw movement, or even minor bleeding. All of these side effects are normal, and often temporary. You’ll be placed on a modified diet and warned of a few things to avoid, like smoking, tobacco, and physical activity. Your doctor will explain what the best practices are best for keeping good oral health after surgery, as well as which medications to take to control pain. At around the halfway point after initial jaw healing, your orthodontist will finish aligning your teeth with braces. The entire orthodontic process, including surgery and braces, can take several years depending on the specificities and needs of your jaw. 

Learn How Orthodontics Services Can Help 

If you’re experiencing pain that you think could be helped by orthodontic services, please contact our orthodontist office today. Our team will be happy to provide you with a free consultation and direct you toward the next step so you can get on the path to feeling good again. Our services are available to kids, teens, and adults in St. Augustine, St. Johns, and the surrounding FL communities.