Orthognathic Surgery

At Boston Children’s Hospital, the majority of orthognathic surgeries (corrective jaw surgery) are successful — and the dedicated staff is here to support you throughout your treatment. Whether you suffer from an overbite, or an underbite, our specialized oral and maxillofacial surgeons will help provide the answers you’re looking for. 

What is  orthognathic surgery?

  • Orthognathic surgery or 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. 

Common procedures performed as part of our Orthognathic Surgery Program include Le Fort I osteotomy, bilateral sagittal split osteotomy, malar implants, and genioplasty. Your surgeon will discuss each of these with you a develop an individual treatment plant that will give you the best possible result. 

Who can benefit from orthognathic Surgery?

  • Patients with dentofacial deformities such as underbite, overbite, crossbite, open bite, and facial asymmetry often pursue jaw surgery. After jaw surgery, patients can expect improved bite alignment and more efficient, safer, and comfortable chewing function.
  • Orthognathic surgery is also frequently necessary to correct skeletal and bite relationships in patients with cleft and craniofacial deformities. Orthognathic surgery is part of the treatment plan that is developed as part of care in the Cleft and Craniofacial Center. Jaw surgery may improve bite function, facial symmetry, breathing and sleep, and 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.   Jaw surgery at Boston Children’s is a precise and well-planned procedure. During a preoperative records visit, our trained staff will obtain two- and three-dimensional facial photographs, digital impressions of the teeth, and a three-dimensional facial X-ray (CBCT). We then use this information to perform virtual surgery in a computer simulation program. The virtual surgery creates a prediction of a patient’s postoperative result, which can be shared with the patient. Our surgeons also use the virtual surgery to create bite splints that are printed on a 3D printer and sterilized. These splints are then used during the operation to ensure that the desired result is achieved. 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 Cory Resnick,, DMD, MD
© Boston Children's Hospital; posted in 2019

Contact us to learn more about orthognathic surgery in Boston

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston MA 02115 

Fax: 617-738-1657