Orthognathic Surgery

Jaw Surgery

Orthognathic surgery is needed when jaws don’t meet correctly and/or teeth don’t seem to fit with jaws. Teeth are straightened with orthodontics and corrective jaw surgery repositions a misaligned jaw. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.

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 appearance. Injury to the jaw 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


Jaw Correction

Any of these symptoms can exist at birth, be acquired after birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences, or as a result of trauma to the face. Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination with x-rays. During the pre-treatment consultation process, 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 your dental team can make the decision to proceed with treatment together.

Orthognathic surgery is sometimes called “Surgical Orthodontics” because, just as an Orthodontist repositions teeth, an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon uses orthognathic surgery to reposition one or both jaws.  Just as “orthodontics” means “straight teeth“, “orthognathic” means “straight jaws.”

The objective of orthognathic surgery is the correction of a wide range of major and minor jaw irregularities which typically result in a poor bite relation.   Benefits include an improved ability to chew, speak and breath.  In many cases an enhanced appearance can result.

People who will benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite and those with jaws that are positioned incorrectly.  These individuals suffer from problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health, and appearance.  While Orthodontics alone can correct many “bite” problems if only the teeth are involved, orthognathic surgery may be required if the jaws also need repositioning.

In diagnosing your need for orthognathic surgery, Dr. Gassmann and your Orthodontist will work closely together.  The Orthodontist is responsible for moving the teeth so they will fit together properly once the jaws are repositioned, and Dr. Gassmann is responsible for repositioning the jaw(s) so that the teeth and jaws are in proper alignment.  In addition, your general Dentist is responsible for maintaining your oral health before, during, and after your orthodontic and surgical treatment.

Some people may consider having additional cosmetic procedures to enhance their new appearance, such as surgery on the eyes, nose, cheekbones, chin or neck.  You may wish to discuss these options with Dr. Gassmann including if and when these procedures should be performed.

Orthognathic surgery moves your teeth and jaws into a new position that is more balanced, functional and healthy.  Not only should you be able to bite and chew better than ever before, but your appearance and speech may be enhanced, as well.  The results of the Orthognathic surgery can have a dramatic and positive effect on many aspects of your life.

Technology & Orthognathic Surgery

Dr. Gassmann uses modern computer techniques and three-dimensional models to show you exactly how your surgery will be approached. 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 treatment prescribed. Our goal is to help you understand the benefits of orthognathic surgery. If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, Dr. Gassmann will work closely with your dentist and orthodontist during your treatment. 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.