Children with severe jaw discrepancies resulting in a poor bite that cannot be fully addressed with orthodontics may need orthognathic (jaw) surgery. Orthognathic surgery may be recommended for teens who have an upper or lower jaw that is too small, too large, or if the upper and lower jaw do not fit together properly.
Children with cleft lip and palate, isolated cleft palate, craniofacial microsomia, Pierre Robin syndrome, craniosynostosis, Treacher Collins syndrome, and ectodermal dysplasia are most likely to exhibit altered jaw growth patterns that require orthognathic surgery. However, children with no medical diagnoses can also develop jaw anomalies.
Jaw surgery can dramatically alter a child’s appearance and improve their ability to chew, speak and breathe. Treatment takes time, however. In most cases, patients will need 6 to 12 months of orthodontics to prepare for surgery, then an additional 6 to 12 months of post-surgical management to finalize the bite after surgery.
At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, your child’s treatment and orthognathic surgery will be customized to address their unique needs and is based on recommendations from our top maxillofacial and plastic surgeons, orthodontists and dentists.