Skip to main content

Are you a candidate for jaw surgery?

Dealing with a misaligned jaw or misaligned teeth can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Along with potential self-esteem issues related to the way your jawline or smile looks, legitimate medical concerns with chewing, speaking or TMJ pain can also exist.

While any given patient’s candidacy for jaw (“orthognathic”) surgery must be discussed in detail with an oral surgeon, the general guidelines are as follows.

General health

A basic medical history questionnaire and physical exam will help determine if the patient is fit for surgery and able to undergo general anesthetic.

Mentally prepared for the healing process

Postop depression can be a side effect following cosmetic procedures. Orthognathic surgery can be draining given a potentially prolonged recovery process. It helps if patients are able to stay positive.

Comfortable with surgical risks

As with any type of surgical procedure, orthognathic surgery carries some risks. Strong candidates are usually comfortable with the risk/reward ratio prior to the operation.

Potential complications can include: bleeding, infection or numbness or tingling of the teeth, cheeks and lips. While unlikely, there is some chance that your jaw moves back towards its original position.

All necessary orthodontics have been completed

Orthognathic surgery is often the final step in a treatment process. Patients who require significant tooth straightening or other orthodontic care will have completed necessary procedures prior to surgery. If in the early stages of correcting the look and position of your smile, it could be some years before your teeth and jaw are ready for this surgery.

Surgery has been recommended by your orthodontist and oral surgeon

Patients seeking aesthetic improvements often experience dramatic results and improved self-esteem. Be sure to check out 3-dimensional before-and-after models that display potential postop looks.

Only a medical professional can determine if orthognathic surgery may help you achieve your desired outcome. If you believe this surgery is right for you, make an appointment with an oral surgeon to discuss treatment options.