Everything You Need To Know About Orthognathic Surgery


There are times when orthodontics alone is not enough to fix mouth problems. This is what happens when the patient’s problem is caused not only by a bad placement of the teeth, but also by a bad positioning or an inadequate size of the bones of the face, mainly the jaw or maxilla.

What is orthognathic surgery?

It is the intervention through which the bones of the face are in the correct position and have the appropriate proportions . With this operation an aesthetic improvement is achieved, since the harmony of the features changes the appearance of the person. But what is obtained mainly is to improve the functionality of the mouth , improving the occlusion, chewing and the health of the teeth.


What types of surgery are there?

There are several orthognathic surgeries depending on what needs to be corrected. The intervention may seek to adjust the jaw because it is behind the upper jaw ( retrognathia ) or because the jaw is forward ( prognathism ).

Another option is to operate to solve the notable differences between the right and left side of the face. In the case of an open bite , when the upper front teeth do not contact the lower ones, an operation can also be done to solve the problem.

boy in blue long sleeve shirt drinking from a feeding bottle

Does surgery prevent the use of orthodontics?

No. The usual thing is that the patient wears orthodontics before the intervention and continues to wear it afterwards. The operation changes the position of the bones, but not the teeth. Once the jaw and jaw bones are in place, orthodontics has to do its job so that the teeth sit in the right place.

How is the intervention carried out?

The operation usually takes about four hours; in Europe and the United States it is developed through the orthodontic procedure, surgery, orthodontics . In Japan and Korea, a new technique is being applied that consists of practicing surgery before placing the orthodontics. In this way, faster results are achieved, but the procedure is more complicated and that is why it is not performed in the majority.

boy lying on beige recliner hospital bed

What anesthesia is used?

If the surgery is monomaxillary, general anesthesia is applied . The normal thing is that the patient remains admitted at least one night. In the case of a surgery that only affects the jaw, local anesthesia and sedation are usually applied and hospital admission is not necessary. The patient can go home a few hours after surgery.

At what age can the intervention be performed?

The operation can be done once the growth has finished, which happens in the case of women at 18 years and in the case of men at 21. If problems in the jaw or maxilla appear during childhood, They can be corrected with functional appliances that must be worn for several hours a day.

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How will the face be after the intervention?

Right after the operation the patient will notice that his face is swollen and he will have trouble performing everyday tasks such as eating, sleeping or speaking. To alleviate, as far as possible, the aches and pains are usually prescribed painkillers.

Can you speak after the operation?

The patient can talk after surgery, but the swelling may cause discomfort for up to a few days or cause you to become very tired when talking.

poached egg with vegetables and tomatoes on blue plate

What diet to follow afterwards?

During the two weeks following the intervention, you must eat a soft diet with the help of straws and syringes . In the third week you can eat soft foods, such as French omelet or fish. From the fourth week, more solid foods are incorporated so that the patient progressively recovers his usual diet.

How is oral hygiene?

After the intervention, the mouth must be kept in optimal hygienic conditions to avoid infections. In these cases it is recommended to use a small and soft toothbrush to clean the brackets, under and around the arches.

woman wearing blue top while standing on plain field

How long do you leave?

The time off work depends a lot on the patient’s recovery conditions and on whether one or both jaws have been operated on, but it is usual to be able to return to work two weeks after the operation .

Can you do sports?

The return to sport must be progressive. In the weeks immediately after the operation, you can go for a walk. Little by little the intensity can be increased, always following the doctor’s instructions.

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Are there scars?

One of the great advantages of this intervention is that all the incisions that are made are intraoral, so there will be no visible scar on the face .

When can the final results be observed?

Once the swelling disappears, the patient can see that the appearance of his face has changed and is now more harmonious. At first a strange situation may occur, but in most cases the person who has surgery quickly accepts their new appearance and looks better with it.

Surgery for the Jaw: Types, Procedure, Risks, and Recovery

Are there people who cannot receive this operation?

As in any other type of surgery, special care must be taken with people who have diseases such as hypertension, respiratory problems, circulatory problems or serious systemic diseases . The doctor will assess the personal and health circumstances of the patient in each specific case and will decide whether or not it is feasible to carry out the intervention.

When is orthodontics removed?

The time varies depending on the patient, but it is usually removed within 6 to 12 months.

What do you think?

Written by Leena Wadia

Linguist-translator by education. I have been working in the field of advertising journalism for over 9 years.


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