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Orthognathic surgery

Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is performed to realign your teeth and jaws

Orthognathic surgery (also known as jaw surgery or corrective jaw surgery) is performed to reposition your jaws and correct any imbalance between your upper and lower mouth. This allows your teeth and jaws to meet together correctly.

Jaw corrective surgery is performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons, who diagnose and treat a range of conditions that affect your mouth, jaws, face, and neck. Surgery is often performed when orthodontic treatment, such as braces to correct the position of your teeth, can't resolve the issue.

Living with problems with your jaws can significantly impact your daily life. It can disrupt your ability to eat, sleep, and even talk, so it's important to have the issues treated as quickly as possible. Treatment is highly effective, helping you regain function of your mouth and get back to living your everyday life without hassle.

Orthognathic surgery with Circle Health Group 

At Circle Health Group, we have a network of thousands of consultants who can help you. To find out more about our maxillofacial services, you can call us on 0141 300 5009 or book an appointment with a consultant of your choice online. 

Problems with your jaw can occur as a result of a condition or an injury. Some people can be born with conditions that affect your jaw, while others develop they when they are children, teenagers, or adults. 

If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, you might need jaw corrective surgery:

  • Difficulty chewing 
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chronic pain in your jaw
  • Headaches
  • Locking of your jaw
  • Problems with snoring
  • Breathing problems
  • An inability to make your lips meet without straining your jaws

There are several conditions that require corrective jaw surgery to manage and even eliminate. These include:

TMD (temporomandibular disorder)

This is the most common reason for having jaw corrective surgery.

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the two joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. More specifically, they are the joints that slide and rotate in front of each ear, and consist of your lower jaw and the side and base of your skull. 

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are disorders of your jaw muscles, of which there are several. These can result in chronic jaw pain, headaches, pain behind your eyes, and sensitivity of your teeth. 

Obstructive sleep apnoea

Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common sleep related breathing disorder. It causes you to repeatedly stop and start breathing while you sleep. The condition can be treated with jaw corrective surgery to move your upper and lower jaws forward and enlarge your airway, helping you breathe properly.

An overbite

An overbite is when your top front teeth extend over your bottom teeth. Many people have a slight overbite, but more severe overbites can cause tooth decay and chronic jaw pain. Some people also find an overbite aesthetically unappealing, but this is based on personal opinion. Corrective jaw surgery can successfully resolve the issue of an overbite. 

An underbite

An underbite happen when your lower jaw rests in front of your upper jaw when your back teeth are closed. It can cause your teeth to wear down if not treated properly, which can put stress on your jaw, resulting in chronic jaw pain.

Facial fractures

Jaw corrective surgery helps treat a broken upper jaw or a broken lower jaw damaged by injury such as a high-impact punch in the face, or a fracture caused by a car crash.

The cost of your orthognathic surgery will depend on factors including why you are having the surgery and how extensive the operation will be, as well as where you have surgery, and which consultant performs the procedure.

Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. Any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.

If you have private health insurance, orthognathic surgery will often be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.

*This is a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

You can usually see a consultant for your first appointment within 48 hours of getting in touch.

During this initial appointment, your consultant will ask in detail about your general health and your medical and oral health history. They will want to know about any existing medical conditions, as well as the current symptoms you are experiencing in your jaw. They'll ask you how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur, and whether you have had any treatment for them yet.

In order to assess your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis of your condition, your consultant will next carry out a thorough examination of your mouth, teeth, gums, and jaws. In some cases, they might also send you to get an X-ray, which will be done onsite by one of our radiologists. All of this helps your consultant to make a diagnosis of the cause of your pain.

Once they have identified what's causing your problems, they will share more information about jaw correction surgery and whether it could be the right treatment for you.

This is a safe space for you to ask as many questions as you like, however big or small. Your consultant will be an expert in corrective jaw surgery and will have extensive experience in helping people with problems with their jaws, so do take the opportunity to make the most of their knowledge. Whether it's easing your fears about having surgery or explaining what to expect from your recovery, this is the best place to ask.

Your surgeon will give you a good idea of timelines during your initial consultation, after which they'll put together a fixed-price treatment package based on everything you have discussed together. Once you've agreed to the costs, we can get you booked in to have your surgery at a time that suits you.

There is not a lot you can do to physically prepare for orthognathic surgery.

You will have blood tests and a general health check with your consultant before surgery to ensure you are healthy enough for the procedure. You will be able to ask your consultant as many questions as you would like about the procedure and how to prepare for it. They will offer tailored advice based on your circumstances. They might also suggest you stop taking certain medication on the run-up to having the procedure, but this will vary from person to person.

You will typically have an appointment before your surgery to have a mould taken of your mouth and some other measurements too.

You will not be able to drive yourself home after surgery while the general anaesthesia wears off (this usually takes 24 hours), so you will need to arrange for someone to collect you. Alternatively, we can arrange for a taxi to collect you from the hospital if needed.

It is important to stock up on soft food before surgery. You will need a soft diet that requires little chewing for at least six weeks after surgery, so invest in a blender to turn your food into liquid. We recommend soups and smoothies, so (if you feel inclined), research some soup and smoothie recipes to enjoy after surgery.

There are several types of corrective jaw surgeries, all of which are performed differently. All corrective jaw surgery is performed under general anaesthetic, meaning you will not be awake during your operation. The length of surgery will differ, being around two hours on average.

Some of the jaw surgery we perform most commonly includes:

Maxillary osteotomy

This surgery is performed when your upper jaw sticks out too much or too little. It can treat an overbite, underbite, or a crossbite.

This procedure is performed from the inside of your mouth, so that there are no visible scars on your face.

Your consultant will make a cut through your gum above your upper teeth to gain access to your jawbone. They will then cut your upper jaw with a small specialist instrument to break it apart in a safe and controlled way. This will then moved into its new position and held in place with small metal plates and screws. Your gum is stitched back into place with dissolvable stitches that fall out on their own.

Mandibular osteotomy

This surgery is performed when your lower jaw sticks out too much or too little.

The procedure is performed similarly to a maxillary osteotomy, but involves breaking apart your lower jaw and repositioning it in your mouth. The incision will also be closed with dissolvable stitches that fall out on their own.

Bilateral osteotomy

This surgery is performed if you have a problem that affects both your upper and lower jaw.

Your consultant will make a cut inside your mouth by the side of the last teeth of your lower jaw. They will separate your jaws on both sides and move your lower jaw in its new position using screws and plates. The openings within your mouth are then closed with stitches that will slowly dissolve.

Most people stay in hospital for around two nights after surgery before returning home to recover. Full recovery from corrective jaw surgery can take up to 12 weeks, but some people can get back to living everyday life as usual within six weeks.

When you wake up in hospital, your nurses will be around you to monitor your blood pressure, your temperature, and your pain levels. You will experience pain and swelling in your jaw when you wake up, but will be provided with pain relief to ease the pain, and antibiotics to prevent any infection. This will be offered in liquid form.

You will experience symptoms such as swelling, pain, stiffness, and numbness in your jaw when you wake up. This can be managed with traditional painkillers. Your consultant will ensure you understand how to manage your pain effectively at home, and how to manage your diet to avoid infection and increased levels of pain.

As mentioned above, you should only eat soft food that requires no chewing for the first six weeks, for example soups and smoothies.

Most people need to be off work (or school) for two to four weeks to focus on recovering. During this time you should use ice packs for swelling, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid alcohol and smoking.

Within six weeks, the swelling in your jaw(s) will have eased and your pain levels will have improved. By this time you should be back at work, but be gentle with yourself as you continue to recover.

If you have any questions during your recovery time, you can speak with your consultant. They will also arrange follow-up appointments to monitor your recovery and make sure you are happy with the results of your surgery.

Complications from jaw correction surgery are rare; there are risks attached to any surgery, not just this one. Most people who have orthognathic surgery will not experience complications.

Potential complications during any surgical procedure include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Blood clots
  • Infection in the surgical wound
  • Chest infection
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Specific complications that can occur during a jaw corrective surgery include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Hearing problems
  • Infection
  • Relapse of your jaw to its original position
  • Prolonged numbness
  • Prolonged tingling

We answer some frequently asked questions about orthognathic surgery:

Can you feel the screws after jaw surgery?

No, you will not feel the screws in your mouth after jaw surgery. In rare cases, they can become infected and will need to be removed, but this is usually only if you do not follow good oral hygiene (for example, if you smoke and drink regularly).

How soon can you talk after surgery?

You can physically talk straight away after surgery, but we recommend limiting how much you talk in the first few days after surgery to manage your pain levels and swelling. 

What happens when you chew after surgery?

Chewing is much harder because of the metal screws and wires in your mouth following surgery. It can also be painful and slow down your healing, so we recommend a soft food diet for up to six weeks after surgery.

Does jaw surgery leave scars?

Jaw surgery is typically performed from the inside of your mouth, so it will not leave scars on your face.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Support by the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about this procedure, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in August 2022. Next review due August 2025.

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