Orthognathic Surgery vs. Non-Surgical Alternatives


jaw surgery

Making the decision to opt for corrective jaw surgery is no small undertaking, there are many points to consider beforehand. Those with severe malocclusions and jaw deformities are often recommended surgery, to improve the relationship between the upper and lower jaw and correct issues with chewing and as well as facial asymmetry.

Some may prefer this approach to properly improve their smiles and overall enjoyment of life but others, maybe with slightly less severe dental issues would prefer to opt for something less intrusive and with fewer associated risks. Let’s look at what exactly orthognathic surgery is, why it’s used, and what the alternatives are. 

What is Orthognathic Surgery and Why Is It Used?

Orthognathic surgery is a specialised procedure performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons to correct severe misalignments of the jaw. Also referred to as jaw surgery, it involves moving the jaw bones into the desired positions and secured by tiny screws and plates that stay in place under the gum. A general anaesthetic is used during the process, and it can be a very effective way to encourage the teeth and jaw to meet properly, addressing issues like overbites, underbites, crossbites, and facial asymmetry. 

Orthognathic surgery is only used for people with severe dentofacial deformities, such as excessive growth of the jawbone, where the only option would be to reduce it with surgery. Other severe cases that may only be properly fixed with surgery are severe underbite, where the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw, and severe cases of a gummy smile, where surgery can be used to remove the excessively developed upper jaw and reposition it to a more aesthetically pleasing position. 

Alternatively, dental issues that are caused by deficient jawbone development can be managed with other, non-surgical treatments.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Jaw Surgery

The benefits of jaw surgery are completely dependent upon the issue that it is used to fix. In severe cases, as mentioned above, jaw surgery can be extremely beneficial in improving jaw alignment and movement and overall skeletal aesthetics, whereas, for those with less severe dental issues, less intrusive forms of orthodontics can be a better option.


  • Corrects Severe Malocclusions - orthognathic surgery is highly effective in correcting complex dental and skeletal issues that may not be adequately addressed through non-surgical methods.
  • Permanent Results - surgical correction often provides long-lasting and permanent results, reducing the likelihood of relapse.
  • Improves Facial Aesthetics - beyond addressing functional concerns, orthognathic surgery can enhance facial aesthetics, contributing to increased self-confidence and overall well-being.


  • Invasive Nature - the surgery itself involves cutting the jawbone, which can result in a longer recovery period and potential risks associated with any surgical procedure.
  • Recovery Time - patients may experience a significant downtime post-surgery, with restrictions on diet and activities during the initial stages of recovery.
  • Cost - orthognathic surgery can be expensive, and the cost may not be fully covered by insurance in some cases. 

Alternatives to Orthognathic Surgery

If you have researched your particular dental issue or even better, if you have spoken to your dentist or orthodontist, then you may have been pointed in the right direction regarding whether orthognathic surgery is right for you. If less severe, non-surgical options are advised then there are many options to choose from.

Orthodontic Camouflage Treatment

The treatment of orthodontic camouflage does exactly what it says, camouflages the dental issues present at an aesthetic level but does not actually fix dental problems at the bone. Orthodontic camouflage can consist of braces, retainers, and other forms of functional braces and even aesthetics such as dermal fillers, genioplasty and rhinoplasty. 

Tooth Extraction and Braces

This method works particularly well if the upper or lower jaw is excessive. A way of making room for teeth to move into their desired position is to have one or multiple teeth removed from the back of the mouth, to create space for braces then to be fitted and pull the front teeth backwards. This method can improve the facial profile and bite function, but it is important to understand that it is just a mask for dental deformities and not something that will change the bone structure as surgery would. 

Headgear and Functional Orthodontic Appliances

For younger patients who still have time for their skeletons to grow and develop, dental orthopaedic devices such as headgear and functional braces can help to redirect the growth of the teeth, minimise excessive growth and stimulate deficiencies. 

It is important to discuss your concerns with your orthodontist if you haven’t done so already, as they will be able to guide you on the best course of action for your specific dental issue. If you think orthognathic surgery is the best option for you or if you would like to discuss non-surgical procedures, then Northenden House Orthodontics can help. 

Jaw Surgery in Manchester and Non-Surgical Options with Northenden House Orthodontics 

If you are looking for jaw surgery in Manchester, then Northenden House Orthodontics could be the solution you’re looking for. All our consultants here at our practice are highly trained and experienced to regularly undertake orthognathic surgery and we offer specialist care for our patients of jaw surgery in Manchester.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for non-surgical orthodontic treatments to correct malocclusions and improve your general facial aesthetic, then we offer a wide range of braces and aligners that could be the perfect solution if a less intrusive and costly option is preferred.

Contact Northenden House Orthodontics today whether it's non-surgical solutions or jaw surgery in Manchester that you require, our trained specialists are here to help you.

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  • Mohammad Malik
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