Orthognathic Surgery

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At Boston Children’s Hospital, the majority of orthognathic (jaw) surgeries are successful — and the dedicated staff is here to support you throughout your treatment. 

Here are some basics about orthognathic surgery:

  • Orthognathic (jaw) surgery refers to an operation, which consists of changing the positions of the maxilla (the bone that forms the upper jaw), the mandible (the bone that forms the lower jaw) and/or the alveolar bones (the bones that support the tooth sockets).
  • A balanced occlusion (bite) occurs when all of your upper and lower teeth are correctly aligned. Your upper front teeth should slightly overlap your lower front teeth when you bite your teeth together.
  • If your jaw is not properly aligned, you may have difficulty eating, chewing, biting into foods, speaking or breathing.
  • Orthognathic (jaw) surgery is used to move one of the jaws to allow the upper teeth and the lower teeth to contact each other.  This operation is used for a severe malocclusion (irregular relationship between the teeth of the upper jaw and the teeth of the lower jaw), whichcannot be fixed with orthodontic treatment (braces) alone.
  • In addition to correction of malocclusion, orthognathic surgery can improve the facial appearance. 
How Boston Children’s approaches orthognathic surgery

Boston Children’s is one of the only hospitals in the country with a designated specialist in orthognathic (jaw) surgery. Our Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program works with orthodontists at the hospital and in the community to take care of children who need this operation.

Orthognathic (jaw) surgery: Reviewed by Shelly Abramowicz, DMD, MPH
© Boston Children's Hospital; posted in 2012

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