Orthognathic Surgery (Jaw Surgery)

Orthognathic surgery should be considered when jaws don’t meet correctly and/or teeth don’t seem to fit with the jaws. Teeth can be straightened with orthodontics and then corrective jaw surgery repositions misaligned jaws. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly. It is almost always necessary for the surgeon to work closely with the orthodontist prior to any surgical procedure being done. Orthognathic actually means true-jaws. And it is true– when the function is right, the form of the face is usually right as well

Who Can benefit from Orthognathic Surgery?

People who can 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 can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health and appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved. Orthognathic surgery may be required for the jaws when needing repositioning.

Difficulty in the following areas should be evaluated:

  • difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
  • speech problems
  • chronic jaw or TMJ pain- this is somewhat controversial
  • open bite
  • protruding jaw
  • breathing problems

Dr. Buche has a very long history of working with those patients who require correction of facial deformities and abnormalities. Unfortunately, it has become harder and harder to deliver this kind of care in our changing world of medical care delivery and insurance reimbursement. Although some insurance companies still partially reimburse for orthognathic surgery, the majority are no longer covering these surgical procedures. They tend to want to lump this surgery in with cosmetic surgery. It has caused a lot of concern within the specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery. These procedures are usually accomplished in an operating room under general anesthesia. The cost of hospitalization can be prohibitive to many families without the help of insurance. In spite of this, there is still a place for orthognathic surgery for those truly needing help. Although Dr. Buche rarely does orthognathic surgery these days, he is still quite knowledgeable about the subject and often still is consulted to discuss treatment options. If surgery is indicated, Dr. Buche may refer to another surgeon who is currently performing orthognathic surgery. You may find major life-enhancing changes are possible with a team approach to correcting a facial deformity. Dr. Buche has considerable experience in orthognathic surgical procedures, and he has the expertise to fully answer your questions and help you seek a correct treatment plan.