Corrective jaw surgery, orthognathic surgery, is mainly concerned with repositioning of the jaws (and teeth) to improve function by correcting disproportionate growth and realigning the jaws (and teeth).
Realigning of the jaws necessitates bony cuts to, and corrective moves of, parts of the mandible (lower jaw) or maxilla (upper jaw), or both. The process may include other procedures such as removal of third molars (wisdom teeth), insertion of dental implants, or rarely some bone grafting. Correction of the jaw proportions is likely to also have an effect on facial appearance and may alleviate some breathing difficulties and/or sleep apnoea.
Some minor orthodontic alignment of teeth after orthognathic surgery may still be necessary – but at this stage may well be seen as the ‘finishing touches’ of a lengthy process.
Next section: Jaw disproportion