Corrective Jaw Surgery – Where Should You Begin?

Corrective Jaw Surgery

Corrective Jaw Surgery

One of the first questions I get on a daily basis about corrective jaw surgery is, “Where do I begin?”

This comes from everyone who already knows they need surgery to someone who just wants to see what their options are and where to start.

The first thing I ask back is whether or not you already have an orthodontist.

If so, that’s where you should start, and there’s two reasons for this.

One, depending on your situation, you may be able to correct your bite with just braces, forgoing the surgery all together. While the surgery isn’t quite as scary as some make it out to be, it’s certainly no walk in the park and would be great if you can truly correct your issue without it.

Also, even if your orthodontist has already suggested surgery, they often know and work with experienced surgeons in your area, so they can give you a referral to set up a consultation.

In every orthognathic case, the orthodontist and surgeon have to work closely together in making sure that each does their job in getting you ready for a successful surgery.

The orthodontist’s job is, surprisingly, to make your bite worse. Huh?! Yeah, but there’s a method to the madness, because the ortho positions your teeth for your new post-surgery bite, so your current bite may get even more out of whack.

Don’t worry though, because the changes are so gradual, you will barely notice until it’s time for surgery anyway.

If you don’t already have an orthodontist, then that’s where you need to start.

Call around, ask some of your metal-mouthed friends, check online, or do whatever you can to find an orthodontist that you are comfortable with and can trust.

Don’t be afraid to go into a few different offices to meet and consult with various doctors, because this guy or gal is going to have their hands in your mouth for the next couple of years.

Once you sit down and discuss your options with your orthodontist, it’s time to set up the consultation with the orthognathic maxillofacial surgeon (sounds scary, right?).

During this initial consultation, come armed with every question you can think of, because this is the first true step in starting the process.

He will assess your overall bite and jaw alignment, and the office may even take new X-rays and molds. He may even be able to tell you if you’re due for underbite surgery, overbite surgery, or both, but don’t be surprised if a final determination isn’t made right away.

Some of the consultations are complimentary, especially if you’re going to go ahead with the surgery, and some charge a fee for the service.

Either way, it is absolutely worth the time and money to meet and consult with as many surgeons as you have to, until you feel completely comfortable and confident in the man or woman that’s going to be breaking your skull and bolting it back together.

Corrective jaw surgery was absolutely 100% worth it for me, but there’s no doubt that it’s a long and complex process, so having a surgeon that is willing to talk to you and answer any questions you have truthfully and honestly is essential to a great experience.

Corrective Jaw Surgery – Where to Begin Podcast

25 comments… add one
  • netsecure

    Thanks man, started the whole procedure today. Feel nervous for the surgery. Although i dont know who my surgeon is gonna be yet.

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  • Sonny

    Ok, so if you’ve already gone through the process of wearing braces, even though sliding genioplasty was the first recommendation, and now the bite is 100% perfectly fine but still have a weak chin that really effects the facial balance (lower lip, nose, etc.) would this surgery still be an option or would (cosmetic) chin implant be the best option?


  • Hi Sonny,

    It’s tough to make a call like this without seeing your pics, but if your jaws are aligned properly, then a chin implant could take care of your issues, but following the same process in this article for a professional recommendation is still advised.

  • Sonny,

    I suggest you consult with both a Plastic Surgeon and and Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon; as you will likely get two very different approaches to the management of the deficient chin in the horizontal plane.

    I would strongly consider the sliding osteotomy of the anterior mandible (advancement genioplasty) because of a very important issue of boney dehisence secondary to pressure of the implant that is placed below the mentalis muscle.

    Furthermore there is the consideration of incision placement; the implant is generally placed from a submental (transcutaneous) approach (through the skin under the chin) whereas the osteotomy is completed through the anterior vestibule on the lower lip/muccolabial fold.

    You should also speak with patients if possible.

    This is not an official consultation nor does this replace a consultation with a Board Certified Oral & maxillofacial Surgeon and/or Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, this is merely some guidance so that you use this internet media to enhance your experience and result.

    Good luck!


  • Thanks for the detailed response and input John!

  • Tara baker student

    Hi Brandon,
    When you finally picked your surgeon did he discuss any implants or grafting materials that he was going to use in your procedure?

  • Hi Tara,

    He walked me through the entire procedure and even showed me on a model bite and skull what was going to happen. I don’t remember anything specifically about grafting, but he was open to any and all questions.

  • I would like to say that corrective jaw surgery is not dangerous especially if it is done by highly professional doctors, who knows his business properly and always does his work effectively. So, my surgery preparation tip is to trust health real professionals!

  • Sara

    Hi. Ok so I was told when I was about 12 that I needed corrective jaw surgery. I was so young that I decided against it and would just go with the orthodontic alternatives. I think that was the worst decision I could have made because I have been so self concious ever since they told me. No one else has ever said anything about it but Im so bothered by it. I am 24 now and Im strongly considering having the procedure. My biggest issues are: having braces put back on, the cost (if insurance wont cover it), and the numbness that follows/hearing that it widens your nose. I am normally a confident outgoing person, but over the past several years I found myself drinking to make myself less self concious when I am out and it ALWAYS stems from my mouth/receding chin. I had braces twice as a kid/teenager, and an appliance called a herpst put on that fixed my bite. However, it didnt fix my jaw or chin. Im happy with everything else about myself, and accept all of my other flaws, but this is something I cant live with. I have battled with depression because of it and the root cause always comes back to this issue. I am SO nervous about the surgery and not liking the outcome. I dont want to look like a different person…I just want to look like the best version of myself. Also, lately I have had terrible headaches, clenching my teeth, there is extensive wear on one side of my mouth that the difference over just the past 3 years is visible in photos, and chewing/eating is a problem for me. It is uncomfortable to bite into things, hard to chew on one side of my mouth and only some of my teeth touch…and it makes me awkward about eating in public because Im afraid that it looks like im having as hard of a time eating as I really am. I NEED ADVICE. hellllp

  • Sara

    Oh, and i forgot to mention that I also have a gummy smile. It isnt as bad as some peoples and I have learned to try and smile differently so it isnt as obvious but when it comes to laughing and making eye contact when I smile is sometimes hard for me. I didnt even know that upper jaw surgery to correct this was an option until I started researching the lower jaw surgery that I was told I would need. My nose is also not very big but from the side it looks prominent because my chin is receded. Ive heard horrow stories, Im really worried about the recovery time and if I have to try to pay for this out of pocket then I am SO nervous about the results being not what I wanted or something going wrong, because if Im going to do this Ill only be able to afford to do it once because Im also paying back about $26,000 in student loans from college. Again, I am a very confident person, I have lots of friends and Im very social, and this is the first tme Im talking about this openly (not with my close friends and family). I just really need help from somewhere and it would be SO unbelievably nice to talk to people who understand what I am going through, and to help me make the right decision. This issue has been a serious cause of self conciousness for me and it even affects my relationships with men because I start to pull away because of it. Any and all advice is much appreciated!

  • Totally understand your concerns Sara, and the good news is that they are all very common and the same issues that a lot of us faced as well. The best place to post this would be on the forums where there’s a community of jaw surgeristas that can offer several different points of view and types of advice.

    If you have any trouble registering (free) or posting, just let me know, and I’ll be glad to help, and the forums are here:

  • Vicky

    OH MY GOODNESS, I wish I had this blog post as a resource way back when I was still trying to figure out what my options were. Everything you said is SPOT ON!! Major kudos.

    I got double jaw surgery done for my underbite. Feel free to check out my blog:

  • Thanks Vicky and congrats on a successful surgery!

  • DeDe

    Hi Brandon
    I havn’t even seen a orthodonist yet but have an appt with a ENT next week. I know he is also a dds I went to a ENT in
    My area and he told me that I would need the
    Best ENT so he is sending me to a ENT 75miles away
    What do you think?

  • Thumb up for the picture from Saw 🙂

  • Amanda padworny

    im looking for good surgeon in the Pennslyvania area any Recommandations? I do have an orthodonist which i had already met up with him his name is Adam Weiss from King Of Prussia area. If any one has any suggestion please reply. im nervous myself for the whole operation procedure but i love the result it brings in the end =)

  • Anna

    Well, I’ve gone through your blog and this seemed to be the best place to comment. Like you, my jaw grew naturally out of place, and my teeth had aligned themselves straight (so I never had braces), but unfortunately in such a way that I developed an open bite, a noticeable slant in my jaw line, and a formidable smile. Last year, before I graduated from high school, I went to my dds to ask her about my jaw problems, since she was the first to address the problem (the rest said it wasn’t a big deal). She reviewed my case and decided that I should meet a consultant/possible surgeon, but warned me that I would most likely have to have surgery ASAP, meaning no pre-op braces to screw up my bite in advance. The surgery would consist of cutting/moving/bolting the jaw to the side and back, realignment of teeth to the correct position, and the standard caged-mouth procedure. I am now looking at a 3-month summer break before heading back to college, and am wondering if I should do the operation now, and considering the recovery time, if I should even go back to college this semester if I do go through with the surgery (it’s a long way from home). Honestly, I already have eating, speech, social/esteem problems and would like to remedy those, but this surgery and its post-op scares me shitless. Any advice is appreciated.

  • I’ve never heard of having the surgery immediately without the pre-op braces and preparation, so I’m not sure on that, but if you post your story on the forums, there may be someone there who has more experience with that particular situation here:

  • Try posting this in the forums as there may be a few people there in that area:

  • Bryza

    Okay so I’m possibly getting corrective jaw surgery… Like I’m not upset with my face or anything, but I don’t want to be like forty and wish I could have done something. I guess I’m just super insanely nervous because I’ve never gotten surgery before and I don’t want to be a completely different looking person….. I guess I’m just wondering like is it going to change my face a lot ??

  • It’s very different for every person and every case so it’s impossible to give a blanket answer, but you can browse the forums to see the experience of others here:

  • Katarina

    Hi Brandon! the only thing I really want to know is what’s the price of the surgery?
    Thank you

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