Frequently Asked Questions

What is jaw surgery?

Orthognathic surgery, or jaw surgery, resolves jaw conditions and realigns the jaw so that it works properly. It is often coupled with plastic surgery to improve facial aesthetics.

When should my child be seen by the Maxillofacial Surgery/Orthognathic Surgery Team?

Your child should see us if he or she has a condition that affects the jaw, especially if you have tried orthodontics and it hasn’t worked, or if your child has been referred by an orthodontist or dentist for a second opinion. We can partner with your orthodontist, or you are welcome to see our orthodontist if you haven’t established with one already.

When do you perform jaw surgery?

Often, the optimal time for jaw surgery is after the jaw stops growing, usually in the later teenage years—typically ages 17 to 21 for boys and ages 14 to 16 for girls.

What can I expect during jaw surgery?

During jaw surgery, your child’s surgeon moves the jawbone into its proper place. Screws, plates, wires, or rubber bands are then used to keep the bone in its correct position. When the jaw needs to be built up, bone is sometimes taken from other parts of the body and transferred to the jaw. Surgical procedures often demand a hospital stay of one to two nights. The procedure itself is completed within four to six hours and requires general anesthesia.

What is recovery from jaw surgery like?

Jaws take some time to heal, usually between six and 12 weeks. Your child will be followed closely for the first month, with fewer appointments over time. You will receive thorough instructions on home care before leaving the hospital. 

Will my child need repeat surgeries?

Rarely do surgeries need to be repeated as children age.

Will there be a scar?

Since most jaw surgeries are performed inside the mouth, your child’s scars will be hidden.