Jaw surgery

If your orthodontist needs to correct the position of your teeth and improve the function of your bite, they may recommend jaw surgery alongside orthodontic treatment.

Jaw surgery is only needed in severe cases, for example if you have previously suffered a facial injury or have long-standing issues with your jaw. It’s commonly referred to as orthognathic surgery or corrective jaw surgery.

Although it sounds daunting, your orthodontist will talk you through everything before you start treatment and can answer any questions you might have.

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What does the surgery involve?

There are two parts to jaw surgery:

What are the side-effects of jaw alignment surgery?

It’s completely normal to have some swelling and bruising after the operation, which should subside over the first three or four weeks.

It’s common to experience some numbness of the lower lip for a few weeks or months after jaw surgery. In a very small number of cases, the numbness can be permanent. It won’t affect the movement of your lips, only the feeling in them – in a similar way to having an injection at the dentist.

As with any operation, you’ll have to take it easy for the first week or two afterwards. You may need to stay off work, or your child may need to stay off school, for up to six weeks depending on how long your recovery takes. If you’re worried about the side effects of jaw surgery, speak to your orthodontist who will be able to advise you.

Will I look different after the surgery?

As the surgery is carried out inside your mouth, you’ll have no visible scars. However, you may look different to some degree. This will depend on how severe your jaw issues are and, therefore, how much your jaws need to be moved. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon, or orthodontist, will discuss this with you beforehand.

Looking after yourself throughout your treatment

It’s important you look after your teeth, and your braces, to make sure your treatment and surgery are successful. You’ll need to:

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Find out more

Find out more about teeth straightening, including fixed braces, the cost of braces and more.