Facial & Jaw Surgeries

What is orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery? You can find out everything you need to know about about this kind of oral surgery procedure below.

Patients require orthognathic surgery when one or both of their jaws are misaligned due to either excessive overgrowth or undergrowth during jaw and tooth development. This misalignment results in teeth which don’t seem to fit together properly. The goal of orthognathic surgery is to correct this mismatch of the jaws and teeth. Not only will this allow the teeth to meet correctly and function properly when you are eating and chewing your food, but also corrective jaw surgery has the added benefit of improved facial appearance and symmetry.

However, it is important for you to know that corrective jaw surgery is not solely an orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics, although incredibly valuable, won’t be able to correct jaw mismatch by itself. The goal of orthodontics is to correct the crowding of teeth and abnormal tooth angulations and rotations. Jaw misalignment has to do with the actual bone structure of your jaw, which means that, unfortunately, orthodontics cannot correct an abnormal jaw position by changing the position of your teeth. Only orthognathic surgery can fix misaligned jaws. In summary, orthodontics corrects abnormal tooth position; orthognathic surgery is a corrective jaw surgery that corrects abnormal jaw and bone position using and is separate and distinct. If you need this type of jaw surgery Jessen Oral Surgery in Ogden and Clinton can help you.

What Are Symptoms Of Jaw Misalignment?

What are typical symptoms that may result from misalignment of the jaw? Different misalignments in a jaw’s position can produce different symptoms, but you can keep your eyes out for the following warning signs of a misaligned jaw. Common problems associated with misaligned jaws include:

• Difficulty in biting and chewing food
• Chronic jaw or TMJ pain
• Breathing problems
• Speech problems
• Abnormal wear and tear on teeth

If you have any questions about the material on this page or would like more information, please contact us online or call us at (801) 845-8909.

Jaw and Facial Surgery

Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic (or-thog-NATH-ik) surgery, corrects irregularities of the jaw bones and realigns the jaws and teeth to improve the way they work. Making these corrections may also improve your facial appearance.

Jaw surgery may be a corrective option if you have jaw problems that can’t be resolved with orthodontics alone. In most cases, you also have braces on your teeth before surgery and during recovery after surgery until healing and alignment are complete. Your orthodontist can work with your Dr. Jessen to determine your treatment plan.

Jaw surgery is appropriate after growth stops, usually around ages 14 to 16 years for females and ages 17 to 21 years for males.

Why it’s done

Jaw surgery may help to:

  • Make biting and chewing easier and improve chewing overall
  • Correct problems with swallowing or speech
  • Minimize excessive wear and breakdown of the teeth
  • Correct bite fit or jaw closure issues, such as when the molars touch but the front teeth don’t touch (open bite)
  • Correct facial imbalance (asymmetry), such as small chins, underbites, overbites and crossbites
  • Improve the ability of the lips to fully close comfortably
  • Relieve pain caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and other jaw problems
  • Repair facial injury or birth defects
  • Provide relief for obstructive sleep apnea and airway problems.

How you prepare

In most cases, an orthodontist places braces on your teeth before surgery. Braces are usually on for 12 to18 months before surgery to level and align your teeth in preparation for surgery.

Your orthodontist and Dr. Jessen work together to develop your treatment plan. X-rays, pictures and models of your teeth are part of the planning for your jaw surgery. Occasionally, the difference in the way teeth fit together will require either reshaping of the teeth, covering the teeth with crowns or both to complete correction.

Three-dimensional CT scanning, computer-guided treatment planning and temporary orthodontic anchoring devices may be used to help in the movement of teeth and decrease your time in braces.  Virtual surgical planning (VSP) will be used to guide Dr. Jessen to fit and correct the jaw segment position during the procedure for the most optimal result.

What you can expect

Before the procedure

Jaw surgery is performed by Dr. Jessen. Surgery is usually done under general anesthesia. The surgery takes place in the hospital and may require a two- to four-day stay.

During the procedure

Surgery usually can be performed inside your mouth, so no facial scars show on your chin, jaw or around the mouth. However, sometimes small incisions may be required outside your mouth.

Dr. Jessen makes cuts in the jawbones and moves them into the correct position. Once your jaw movement is completed, tiny bone plates, screws, wires, and rubber bands may be used to secure the bones into their new position. These screws — which are smaller than a bracket used for braces — become integrated into the bone structure over time.

In some cases, extra bone may be added to the jaw. Your surgeon transfers the bone from your hip, leg or rib and secures it with plates and screws. In other cases, the bone may be reshaped to provide a better fit.

Jaw surgery may be performed on the upper jaw, lower jaw, chin or any combination of these.

Upper Jaw (Maxillary Osteotomy)

Upper jaw surgery

Surgery on the upper jaw may be performed to correct:

  • Significantly receded or protruding upper jaw
  • Crossbite
  • Too much or too little of the teeth showing
  • Open bite
  • Reduced facial growth of the middle of the face (midfacial hypoplasia)

Dr. Jessen cuts the bone above your teeth so that the entire top jaw — including the roof of your mouth and your upper teeth — can move as one unit. The jaw and upper teeth are moved forward until they fit properly with the lower teeth. This can be planned on a computer to determine if additional work, such as orthodontics, will be needed to help correct any remaining fit difference.

An open bite occurs when excess bone grows above the molars, causing what’s normally a flat, even surface to become angled. To fix this, your surgeon shaves away or removes the excess bone.

Once the jaw is realigned, plates and screws hold the bone in its new position.

Lower jaw (mandibular osteotomy)

Lower jaw surgery

A mandibular osteotomy can correct:

  • Receding lower jaw
  • Protruding lower jaw

Dr. Jessen makes cuts behind the molars and lengthwise down the jawbone so the front of the jaw can move as one unit. The jaw can then be moved to its new position either forward or backward. Plates and screws hold the jawbone together as it heals.

Chin surgery (genioplasty)

Chin surgery

A genioplasty can correct a small chin (deficient chin). A small chin often accompanies a severely receded lower jaw.

Typically, Dr. Jessen can alter the jaw and restructure the chin during the same surgery. The surgeon cuts a piece of the chin bone on the front of the jaw, moves it forward, and secures it in a new position with plates and screws.

After the procedure

After surgery, Dr. Jessen will provide you with instructions. These usually include:

  • What you can eat
  • Oral hygiene
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Avoiding strenuous activity
  • Medications to control pain
  • When to return to work or school, which is usually in one to three weeks

Initial jaw healing typically takes about six weeks after surgery, but complete healing can take up to 12 weeks.

After initial jaw healing — at about six weeks — your orthodontist finishes aligning your teeth with braces. The entire orthodontic process, including surgery and braces, may take several years. Once the braces are removed, retainers to hold tooth position may be used.


Correcting alignment of your jaws and teeth with jaw surgery can result in:

  • Balanced appearance of your lower face
  • Improved function of your teeth
  • Health benefits from improved sleep, breathing, chewing and swallowing
  • Improvement in speech impairments

Secondary benefits of jaw surgery may include:

  • Improved appearance
  • Improved self-esteem

Dr. Jessen performs these and other surgeries at several local hospitals and surgical centers for patient care.

I had double jaw surgery on September 27, 2018. In essence, what Dr. Jessen did was unhinge my upper and lower jaws and move them forward. My orthodontic history had been a very long and frustrating one. A few months after starting round 3 of orthodontic treatment in Spring 2017, I started to question whether braces would be enough to fix a very ugly flare of my upper teeth. My teeth no longer showed at all when I smiled. I felt like my smile and appearance had changed significantly; I didn’t know why, but it was very disheartening to look in the mirror. I am still somewhat new to Utah so I had no clue where to even start looking for a second opinion. I happened to mention this to someone who happened to have Dr. Jessen’s card on them, and highly recommended him. I went in for a consultation a few weeks later and Dr. Jessen diagnosed a bone structure deformity in my jaw. It turned out that my jaw was blocking my airways which meant that my tongue was constantly thrusting forward against my front teeth so I could breathe properly, which is what caused my teeth to flare out. This had been going on for years and I had no idea. He told me that even if I’d completed my previous round of orthodontics, the flare would have happened anyway because of the tongue thrusting, and that the surgery would improve my overall quality of life. He was absolutely right. So even though I went in to get a second opinion for what I thought was an aesthetic problem, it turned out I had a medically diagnosable condition that needed to be corrected. Even though jaw surgery sounds scary, I can honestly say it was one of the most pleasant and transformative experiences I’ve ever had. Dr. Jessen and his staff were so patient with me and all my questions (and my extreme aversion to having impressions done), and everything went incredibly smoothly on the surgery day itself. My healing went very well too; I had intense swelling and discomfort, which is normal, but no pain. I immediately noticed the difference in my breathing, my sleep, and even my speaking, which is clearer and stronger now. I sometimes used to stumble awkwardly over my words and didn’t know why. All of that improved immediately. I was blown away that I had never known any of this before. It was unpleasant personal circumstances brought me to Utah, but I know now that it was divine providence that brought me here, because I never would have known I had this problem that not only made me feel self-conscious about smiling, but was also affecting my overall health. Having this surgery has been one of the greatest blessings in my life, and it has made me ready to keep moving forward working towards important life goals. Apart from being a highly skilled surgeon, Dr. Jessen is also a great human being who is passionate about what he does and is genuinely happy to see his patients improve the quality of their lives, and his team is also incredible. I highly recommend Jessen Oral Surgery to anyone considering a second opinion about any breathing, orthodontic or other concerns that might be helped with maxillofacial treatment. Thank you, Dr. Jessen and Team! You guys are the absolute best!

Cynthia Mendoza

To me, well every time I see my teeth marks I can’t help but smile (pun totally intended). I had horrible teeth growing up. I had an overbite, bucked front teeth, twisted teeth, spaces that you could fit a truck in between. It was my worst attribute. I hated to smile because I felt that is all people saw. I “trained” my bottom jaw to move forward to hide my gap but I couldn’t fix or hide my teeth. When I was 18, I finally got braces and started the long process of putting everything in its place.  On December, I had reconstructive jaw surgery to fix my overbite. @jessenoralsurgery did a phenomenal job. Recovery was miserable. I mean a broken jaw is no fun. I had two titanium plates put in to move my jaw forward. I couldn’t eat (other than protein drinks), I couldn’t sleep because of the pain and I looked like a chipmunk for weeks to come. It seems like a lifetime ago now but I am still so thankful for the team that gave me the smile I always dreamed of.

Krystal Bates

Learn more about our procedures:

Wisdom Teeth

Dental Implants

Corrective Jaw Surgery

IV Sedation / Anesthesia

Oral Pathology

Bone Grafting

Jaw Surgery corrects irregularities of the jaw bones and realigns the jaws and teeth to improve the way they work. Making these corrections may also improve your facial appearance.

Call Dr. Jessen for a consultation for a solution to your jaw pain and discomfort. 801-845-9809