The Archer Dental Blog

Orthognathic Surgery

June 4, 2024

Orthognathic Surgery; Jaw Surgery Options That Can Help

What is Orthognathic Surgery?

Orthognathic surgery, commonly referred to as corrective jaw surgery, is a specialized procedure aimed at addressing significant jaw irregularities that cannot be corrected with braces or Invisalign alone. This surgery is an umbrella term that encompasses around ten different surgical procedures, each tailored to correct specific skeletal and dental irregularities. It is often necessary for individuals whose jaw alignment issues are too pronounced to be resolved through orthodontic treatments alone.

The primary goal of orthognathic surgery is to realign the bones of the jaw into an optimal functional and aesthetic position. This involves carefully planned surgical interventions to reposition the upper jaw (maxilla), lower jaw (mandible), or both. Such adjustments help improve the patient's bite, enhance facial symmetry, and alleviate issues related to chewing, speaking, and breathing. Corrective jaw surgery can address a range of conditions, including severe overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites, as well as congenital abnormalities and trauma-related deformities. Specific procedures include deep bite jaw surgery, jaw surgery for open bite, and asymmetrical jaw surgery, each targeting distinct alignment issues to achieve comprehensive corrective results.

In addition to functional improvements, orthognathic surgery has significant aesthetic benefits, contributing to a more balanced and harmonious facial appearance. The procedure typically involves a comprehensive treatment plan developed in collaboration with orthodontists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons. This interdisciplinary approach ensures that the surgical outcomes not only enhance the patient's dental function but also provide substantial cosmetic improvements, boosting the patient's overall quality of life and self-confidence. Whether addressing a deep bite, open bite, or asymmetrical jaw, orthognathic surgery offers a transformative solution for achieving both functional and aesthetic goals.

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery and how is it Done?

The rule of thumb is: braces move teeth and surgery moves bones. One will need surgery when jawbones are misaligned. A facial imbalance, asymmetry, difficulty biting and chewing, facial injury all of these can be a reason an orthodontist might refer a patient to maxillofacial surgeon. Resetting the jawbones to an optimal position will allow the orthodontist to properly align your teeth to achieve balanced smile. Generally an orthodontist and maxillofacial surgeon will work together to prepare a treatment plan before the surgery and follow up the treatment with braces or Invisalign. The surgery is usually done in a hospital-based setting.

When can you get Orthognathic Surgery?

Short answer is – when the growth stops.  Generally after 16 year old for females and 21 year old for males, but an evaluation by a doctor is necessary to determine if the patient can undergo this surgery.

How Much Does Orthognathic Surgery Cost?

Orthognathic surgery is an important and life-changing investment for many individuals facing significant jaw alignment issues. The cost of jaw surgery can be substantial, reflecting the complexity and comprehensive nature of the procedures involved. In the Chicago area, patients have access to some of the most affordable options for orthognathic surgery at facilities like Cook County Hospital and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The price for orthognathic surgery, or jaw surgery cost, typically ranges from $10,000 to $20,000 per jaw. This cost can vary based on several factors, including the specific type of surgery needed, the surgeon’s expertise, and the overall complexity of the case. Many patients requiring orthognathic surgery need procedures on both the upper and lower jaws, which can double the total cost to between $20,000 and $40,000. This investment covers various aspects of the surgical process, including pre-surgical consultations, the surgery itself, post-operative care, and any necessary follow-up treatments. For those wondering, "how much is jaw surgery?" or "what is the reconstructive jaw surgery cost?" it's essential to have a detailed consultation to get an accurate estimate tailored to your needs.

While the cost of corrective jaw surgery may seem high, it is essential to consider the significant benefits it provides. Corrective jaw surgery not only enhances facial aesthetics and improves jaw function but also resolves issues related to chewing, speaking, and breathing. For many, this surgery leads to a profound improvement in quality of life and self-confidence. Additionally, many health insurance plans offer partial coverage for orthognathic surgery, particularly when it is deemed medically necessary. Patients are encouraged to check with their insurance providers to understand their benefits and explore potential financing options to make this critical investment more manageable. Whether you're concerned about the cost of jaw surgery, lower jaw surgery cost, or jaw surgery prices in general, Archer Dental is committed to helping you find the best solution for your needs and budget.

Why Would one Need Orthognathic Surgery ?

There are multiple indications for these procedures:

  • Severe Class 2 malocclusion with skeletal problem: Severe Class 2 malocclusion with a skeletal problem is a complex dental condition that involves misalignment of the upper and lower jaws, leading to an abnormal bite and facial appearance. Class 2 malocclusion is characterized by the upper jaw protruding significantly ahead of the lower jaw, resulting in an overbite, In cases of severe Class 2 malocclusion with a skeletal issue, the problem originates from the underlying bone structure rather than just the teeth. This condition can be caused by genetic factors, improper growth of the jaws during development, or a combination of both. It often manifests as a noticeable protrusion of the upper teeth and may affect speech, chewing, and facial aesthetics, Orthognathic Surgery can fix that problem
  • Severe Class 3 malocclusion with a skeletal problem: Severe Class 3 malocclusion with a skeletal problem is a complex dental condition characterized by significant misalignment of the upper and lower jaws, resulting in an abnormal bite and facial structure. In this condition, the lower jaw protrudes forward, causing an underbite where the lower teeth are in front of the upper teeth.
    The underlying cause of severe Class 3 malocclusion with a skeletal problem can be attributed to genetic factors, improper growth of the jaws, or a combination of both. This skeletal issue can affect not only the alignment of teeth but also the overall facial appearance and function. Treatment for severe Class 3 malocclusion with a skeletal problem involves a comprehensive approach. Orthodontic treatment using braces or other appliances is typically the first step to align the teeth as much as possible within the existing jaw structure. However, due to the severity of the skeletal discrepancy, orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery) is often recommended to reposition the jaws and achieve proper alignment, Orthognathic Surgery can fix that problem.
  • Increased Overbite: an increased overbite, also known as a deep bite, is a dental condition characterized by a significant vertical overlap of the upper front teeth over the lower front teeth when biting down or closing the mouth. In other words, the upper teeth excessively cover the lower teeth. This condition can lead to functional and aesthetic concerns. An increased overbite can be caused by various factors, including genetics, improper jaw growth, habits like thumb-sucking, or missing lower teeth. It can result in difficulties with chewing, speech, and can also contribute to dental wear, jaw pain, and temporomandibular joint issues. Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or clear aligners, is often used to address an increased overbite by gradually adjusting the positioning of the teeth, Orthognathic Surgery can fix that problem.
  • Anterior Open Bite: an anterior open bite is a dental condition characterized by a lack of vertical overlap between the upper and lower front teeth when the mouth is closed. In other words, the front teeth do not meet when biting down, leaving a gap between them. This condition can result from various factors, including thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting, prolonged bottle feeding, or certain genetic and skeletal issues. An anterior open bite can have functional implications, such as difficulties in biting and chewing certain foods, as well as speech challenges. It can also lead to aesthetic concerns, Orthognathic Surgery can fix that problem.
  • Facial Asymmetries: facial asymmetries refer to the condition where there is an imbalance in the size, shape, or positioning of the facial features on one side of the face compared to the other. These asymmetries can manifest in various ways, such as uneven eye levels, differences in the position of the nose or mouth, or variations in the size of the cheeks or jaws. Causes of facial asymmetry can be diverse, including genetics, developmental factors, trauma, or certain medical conditions affecting facial bone growth. Mild facial asymmetry is quite common and often considered a natural variation, but more pronounced asymmetry might impact both aesthetics and function. Treatment options for facial asymmetries depend on their underlying causes and severity. Orthodontic interventions, such as braces, aligners, or other appliances, might help address certain asymmetries related to tooth positioning. In cases where the imbalance is due to skeletal issues, orthognathic surgery might be considered to reposition the bones for better symmetry and function, Orthognathic Surgery can fix that problem.
  • Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate:
    1. Cleft Lip: cleft lip refers to a separation or opening in the upper lip, creating a gap or notch. This condition can range from a small notch to a more significant gap that extends up toward the nose. It can affect one or both sides of the upper lip and may vary in severity. Cleft lip can occur on its own or in combination with cleft palate Orthognathic Surgery can fix that problem.
    2. Cleft Palate: cleft palate involves an opening or gap in the roof of the mouth. This can occur at the front of the mouth (hard palate), the back of the mouth (soft palate), or both. The cleft can range from a small opening to a larger gap that extends into the nasal cavity. Cleft palate can affect feeding, speech development, and can increase the risk of ear infections due to the connection between the palate and the middle ear, Orthognathic Surgery can fix that problem.

How Much Does Orthognathic Surgery Costs?

Orthognathic surgery is an important and a life-changing investment.

Here in the Chicago area, the most affordable options are Cook County Hospital and University of Illinois at Chicago. Price varies from $10,000 to $20,000 per jaw. In many patients who require such surgery, both jaws have to be operated.

Alternatives to Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic Surgery: dentist working hard

If you have been told that your case requires jaw surgery, there’s a chance you may fall into the category of patients who can be treated with orthodontic treatment alone. At Archer Dental Chicago, we understand that surgery is not always the preferred option for everyone, and we strive to provide effective alternatives, including alternatives to jaw surgery, whenever possible. Our team is dedicated to offering up-to-date orthodontic techniques and continuously studying the latest innovations in dentistry and orthodontics to ensure the best outcomes for our patients.

One of the primary alternatives to orthognathic surgery is advanced orthodontic treatment. With the expertise of our skilled doctors and the use of cutting-edge orthodontic appliances, many patients with severe orthodontic issues can achieve significant improvements without the need for surgical intervention. Treatments such as Invisalign, traditional braces, and other specialized orthodontic devices can help correct alignment problems, bite issues, and even some jaw discrepancies. These non-surgical options often provide a less invasive and more comfortable approach to achieving a healthy, beautiful smile.

Additionally, we utilize a comprehensive approach to treatment planning that may include a combination of orthodontic appliances and other dental procedures to address complex cases. For instance, temporary anchorage devices (TADs) and other innovative tools can facilitate the movement of teeth in ways that were previously only possible with surgery. By leveraging these advanced techniques, we aim to offer viable alternatives to jaw surgery, helping our patients achieve their orthodontic goals without the need for invasive procedures. At Archer Dental Chicago, our commitment is to provide personalized care that meets the unique needs of each patient, ensuring optimal results and a positive treatment experience.

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