Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is an operation that improves your bite and facial profile. In combination with orthodontic treatment, it can achieve life-changing results for teens and adults.

Who needs jaw surgery?

There are many reasons why you may want to improve your bite:

  • You don’t like the appearance of your profile
  • You’re unable to close your mouth comfortably
  • You experience pain from misaligned jaws
  • You struggle to chew effectively
  • You have excessive wear on specific teeth
  • You’re unable to pronounce certain sounds correctly

We usually recommend jaw surgery when braces alone can’t achieve the desired result.

You’ll be suitable for jaw surgery by your mid to late teens once you’ve stopped growing – there’s no upper age limit.

Jaw surgery

What does orthognathic surgery involve?

Your treatment is likely to take 2–3 years in total. During this time, you’ll need to wear braces to move your teeth into the optimum position for your surgery. Most patients can choose between fixed braces or clear Invisalign aligners.

Your surgery will take place approximately 12–18 months into your orthodontic treatment. Your specialist orthodontist in Clonmel and Newbridge Dr. Jackie Bracken will liaise closely with your maxillofacial surgeon throughout to ensure you receive a seamless experience.

During your surgery, your surgeon will reposition your jaws and secure them using small screws and plates beneath your gums.

You’ll be given general anaesthesia, so you’ll be asleep throughout the procedure. The operation will be carried out inside your mouth, so you won’t be left with any visible scars.

How long will it take to recover?

You’ll need to stay in hospital for 1–2 nights and take 2–4 weeks off work or school. Everyone heals differently, but you can expect some swelling after your operation. This usually peaks by day two and subsides over the next few weeks. It can take up to 12 weeks for you to fully recover from your jaw surgery.

Your orthodontic treatment will continue for 6–9 months after your surgery. You’ll need to wear elastics between your upper and lower jaw. These attach to your braces and will help your bite to settle in the correct position.

If one of your goals is to change your profile, it may take some time to get used to your new appearance. If you need any extra advice or support, please let us know, and we can arrange this.

Alternatives to jaw surgery

Before we recommend jaw surgery, we’ll carry out a comprehensive assessment of your teeth and bite. Your initial consultation with Dr. Jackie Bracken includes photos, X-rays and a digital scan of your teeth and jaws.

Sometimes, we can treat minor discrepancies by repositioning the teeth using braces and elastics alone. We’ll be able to show you a 3D preview of your outcome, so you can see what we can achieve without surgery.

If your jaws are still growing, we can usually improve their positions using removable braces, including functional appliances and Invisalign for kids. We recommend bringing children to see us for a consultation between the ages of 8 and 10.

If we think that surgery is your best option for a great outcome, we’ll refer you to the hospital for a surgical consultation. We’ll see you again afterwards to review your options together.

To arrange your initial consultation with Dr. Jackie Bracken, contact our friendly team.