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A Positive Surgical Solution

When your child suffers from a jaw size issue or malocclusion (condition in which teeth do not fit together properly), it may be hard for them to eat, chew or speak without difficulty. The Corrective Jaw Surgery Program at Arnold Palmer Hospital can help. Because our doctors are dually trained in medicine and dentistry, you can have the confidence of knowing your child will receive the highest quality, most comprehensive care from initial diagnosis through treatment and follow-up.

Our team will work with your child’s orthodontist to correct your child’s jaw or dental condition, restore symmetry and get them back to eating and chewing as normal as possible. In addition, our team uses only the latest technology, including convenient in-office computed tomography (CT) imaging and 3-D virtual planning. Here, you can be sure every aspect of your child’s treatment will be state of the art.

Corrective Jaw Surgery FAQs

Do you have questions about corrective jaw surgery? We have answers! Below we’ve complied some of your most frequently asked questions.

What is corrective jaw surgery?

Corrective jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a surgical procedure performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to realign the jaws. The aim of surgery is to improve any functional concerns. These concerns may include inefficient chewing, altered speech, accelerated damage to the teeth or oral soft tissues (gums or cheeks), obstructed breathing or myofascial pain dysfunction. The ultimate goal of corrective jaw surgery is to provide the most natural balance between a child’s forehead, nose, cheeks, lips and chin while creating the best dental bite. Because the teeth must move with the jaws, care is always coordinated with an orthodontist so that orthodontic treatment with braces takes place at the same time.

Does my child need corrective jaw surgery?

It is estimated that 2.5 to 5 percent of people will have a jaw size discrepancy that is significant enough to benefit from surgery. There are different types of dentofacial deformities such as a prominent lower jaw, a small lower jaw, an open bite and asymmetry of the jaws. Any child with functional concerns related to the jaws may be a candidate. Evaluation by one of our specialists can determine if surgery is the right choice for your child.

When is the surgery performed?

Generally, a jaw deformity is considered a developmental problem, meaning that the effects develop over time and continue to progress with normal maturation. Since the full effect of the problem is not known until growth is complete, it is highly unusual to perform this surgery unless the adolescent growth spurt is nearly complete. This means that most of the time an orthodontist will monitor your child’s growth until they are 14 or 15 years of age before beginning to think about surgical care.

How long does the entire process take?

Once it is determined that combined surgery and orthodontic treatment is required, the goal is for all treatment to be completed within 2 to 3 years. Orthodontic care begins first, although it is best to see a surgeon before starting braces so that everyone is in agreement about the planning. Usually, surgery will take place after 12 to 18 months of orthodontic treatment. The surgical component of care usually requires about 6 weeks for surgery and recovery, although every child is different.

Will my insurance cover corrective jaw surgery?

Corrective jaw surgery is not cosmetic or dental surgery, but rather it is surgery on the bones of face. It should be covered just as any orthopedic surgery is covered. Unfortunately, health insurance is changing rapidly in the United States and some carriers are now denying this surgery. Be prepared to go through an appeal, and check your policy to make sure this type of surgery is not excluded.