Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic is derived from the greek root words “ortho” meaning straight, right, or proper and “gnathic” meaning jaw.  Irregular jaw bone growth commonly results from genetic inheritance, traumatic injuries, or joint or bone tumors.  Orthognathic surgery, in its current form was pioneered by an Austrian oral and maxillofacial surgeon named Hugo Obwegeser.  Surgical correction of an abnormal jaw relationship is a team effort between you, your general dentist, orthodontist and oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  Treatment times vary depending on many factors but generally require many months or years of orthodontics prior to being “ready” for surgery.  Each surgery is tailored to the diagnosis warranting the intervention and may involve one or more jaws and movement of the chin.   

In many patients, creating a balanced jaw relationship improves oral function and enhances their natural beauty. 

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.

Orthognathic Surgery Presentation

Who needs orthognathic surgery?

People who may 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 may affect chewing function, speech, or long-term oral health and appearance. 

Difficulty in the following areas may suggest an underlying skeletal irregularity:

  • Difficulty in chewing, biting, or swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • Open bite
  • Protruding jaw
  • Breathing problems

The path toward orthognathic surgery begins with a consultation and a complete examination with three dimensional 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 Overview

For a brief narrated overview of the orthognathic surgery process, please click the image below. It will launch our educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about orthognathic surgery.

Orthognathic Surgery Overview

Technology & Orthognathic Surgery

Dr. Jundt uses modern computer-aided 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 proposed treatment.  Dr. Jundt has received many years of training in VSP or virtual surgical planning. The anticipated surgery is first completed virtually, surgical guides are 3-D printed and then the plan is executed by Dr. Jundt in an operating room. 

If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, Dr. Jundt 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.

A patient getting a panoramic x-ray of her jaw

What to Expect

  • Corrective jaw surgery is a significant intervention requiring many months of preparation.
  • The surgery is performed in the hospital and can last between one to four hours.
  • Hospital stays of one to three days are normal.
  • Braces are maintained during surgery and may need to be removed six to twelve months after surgery.
  • Patients typically may be off work/school from one to two weeks after surgery.
  • Return to normal chewing function may take several months and full function may take longer.
  • Our goal is to ensure you are well informed before, during and after surgery.
  • Weekly appointments are required for up to two months after surgery.