Orthognathic Surgery

What is corrective jaw surgery?

Also known as “orthognathic surgery”, this is the process of repositioning severely misaligned jaws. While orthodontics (braces) can treat crooked teeth, underlying issues with the alignment of the jaws (such as the upper and lower teeth not meeting correctly) must be addressed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Misalignment may occur because of genetics, growth abnormalities or trauma. With orthognathic surgery, Dr. Wasson is able to align the upper and lower jaw properly.

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.

Having trouble? Please make sure you have the Adobe Flash Player plugin installed in order to correctly view this presentation. This software is available as a free download.

Symptoms of Misaligned Jaws

  • Difficulty Biting, Swallowing or Chewing
  • Speech and Breathing Problems
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Excessive or Uneven Wear on Teeth
  • Inability to Close Mouth
  • TMJ or Headaches
  • Dry Mouth
  • Protruding Jaw or Facial Imbalance

Technological Advancements in Jaw Surgery

Advancements in technology over the years have provided new tools and techniques to minimize recovery time and maximize results. We are now able to understand an accurate picture of your jaw as it is now, and Dr. Wasson can even give you an idea of what it will look like after treatment using special computer software and 3D imaging.

Jaw Surgery Procedure

Orthognathic surgery is a significant procedure, and thus often requires months of preparation and extensive consultation prior to the surgery itself.

Recovery from Jaw Surgery

As anesthesia wears off, we will help you maintain a comfortable level of pain control while in our care and at home.

  • Patients are usually ready to return to school or work within 3 weeks of surgery.
  • You will have regular checkups with us for several months following surgery.
  • You may be required to wear braces or other appliances for months after the surgery.
  • It takes 9-12 months to heal completely.
A patient getting a panoramic x-ray of her jaw

What to Know

  • Surgery is performed under anesthesia in our surgical center (or hospital) and typically takes between 1 and 5 hours.
  • Patients normally stay overnight in the hospital for 1 night.
  • Recovery is a significant phase of jaw surgery, often requiring 10-14 days off of school/work and 8 weeks off from activities that may result in facial trauma. 
  • Your jaws will not be wired shut and you will be able to speak, eat, and funtion during recovery although your diet will require modification for several weeks.

Determining whether or not to move forward with jaw surgery is not always an easy decision to make, but we will be here with you every step of the way. Please call Seattle Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at Seattle Office Phone Number 206-632-0220 to find out more.