What is Jaw Surgery? Know The Benefits And Risks

Jaw surgery, medically known as orthognathic surgery, is a specialized procedure aimed at correcting misalignments of the jaw bones, which can impact both function and aesthetics. This comprehensive treatment involves a combination of surgical intervention and orthodontic care, often utilizing braces or Invisalign, to achieve optimal results. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of jaw surgery, exploring its benefits, risks, and important considerations for patients considering this procedure.

Video Source

Understanding Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery, as the name suggests, focuses on addressing issues related to the alignment and positioning of the jaw bones. While braces and Invisalign are effective in correcting dental misalignments, they may not address underlying skeletal discrepancies of the jaw. This is where jaw surgery becomes essential, as it targets the structural aspects of the jaw to improve both function and facial aesthetics.

Benefits of Jaw Surgery

The benefits of jaw surgery are multifaceted, encompassing improvements in both oral function and facial appearance. One of the primary benefits is the correction of functional bite problems, which can make biting, chewing, and swallowing difficult or painful. By realigning the jaws, jaw surgery can enhance the overall bite, reducing the risk of excessive tooth erosion and improving oral health.

Moreover, jaw surgery can have significant aesthetic benefits, particularly for individuals with facial imbalances or asymmetries. By repositioning the jaw bones, orthognathic surgery can enhance facial harmony, profile, and symmetry, resulting in a more balanced and attractive appearance.

In addition to functional and aesthetic improvements, jaw surgery may also address issues such as speech impairments, breathing difficulties, and symptoms related to sleep apnea. By optimizing jaw alignment, patients may experience relief from breathing obstructions and achieve better sleep quality.

Risks and Considerations

Despite its numerous benefits, jaw surgery is not without risks, and patients must carefully weigh the potential drawbacks before undergoing the procedure. Some common risks associated with jaw surgery include:

  1. Infection: Like any surgical procedure, jaw surgery carries a risk of infection at the surgical site. Patients must adhere to postoperative care instructions to minimize the risk of infection and promote healing.
  2. Nerve Injury: There is a possibility of nerve injury during jaw surgery, which can result in temporary or permanent numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the face, lips, or tongue. This risk is often mitigated by experienced oral surgeons who employ precise surgical techniques.
  3. Relapse: In some cases, there may be a relapse of jaw position following surgery, necessitating additional treatment or corrective measures. Orthodontic follow-up care is essential to maintain the stability of the surgical outcomes.
  4. Postoperative Pain and Swelling: Patients can expect some degree of pain and swelling following jaw surgery, which typically resolves over time with proper pain management and postoperative care.
  5. Bite Fit or Jaw Joint Issues: Occasionally, patients may experience issues with bite fit or jaw joint pain following surgery, requiring further evaluation and management by the dental or surgical team.

Lifestyle Adjustments and Long-Term Effects

Undergoing jaw surgery can have significant implications for a patient’s lifestyle and long-term oral health. Following surgery, patients may need to make certain lifestyle adjustments to accommodate the healing process and maintain the stability of the surgical outcomes. These adjustments may include:

Dietary Modifications: Patients may need to follow a soft or liquid diet for a period following surgery to avoid putting excessive strain on the jaw joints. Over time, they can gradually reintroduce solid foods as tolerated.

Oral Hygiene Practices: Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential during the recovery period to prevent infection and promote healing. Patients may need to use special oral rinses or devices recommended by their oral surgeon to keep the surgical sites clean.

Physical Activity: Patients should avoid strenuous physical activities and exercises that could potentially disrupt the healing process or cause injury to the jaw area. It’s essential to follow the activity restrictions outlined by the oral surgeon until cleared for normal activities.

Smoking and Alcohol Consumption: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can impair the healing process and increase the risk of complications after jaw surgery. Patients are typically advised to refrain from smoking and limit alcohol intake during the recovery period.

In the long term, jaw surgery can have lasting effects on oral function, facial aesthetics, and overall quality of life. By following a comprehensive treatment plan, including orthodontic care and postoperative rehabilitation, patients can enjoy the benefits of improved jaw alignment and function for years to come. Regular dental check-ups and maintenance of oral hygiene practices are essential for preserving the results of jaw surgery and ensuring long-term oral health.


In conclusion, jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, is a specialized procedure designed to correct misalignments of the jaw bones, offering numerous benefits in terms of improved oral function, facial aesthetics, and overall quality of life. While jaw surgery can yield transformative results, it is essential for patients to understand the associated risks and considerations before proceeding with treatment. By consulting with experienced oral surgeons and orthodontic specialists, patients can make informed decisions about whether jaw surgery is the right option for their individual needs and goals.


Scroll to Top