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Cleft

Orthognathic Surgery

As part of your appointments with your cleft team you may have heard about a procedure known as orthognathic surgery, this literally means 'surgery to create straight jaws'.

The main aims of this type of surgery are:

  • To improve the relationship between your upper and lower jaws
  • To improve the way you eat and speak by aligning your teeth and correcting the way your upper and lower teeth meet
  • To improve your facial and dental appearance.

Preparing for surgery 

If you are thinking or have had a conversation with your cleft team about orthognathic surgery then there are lots of things to think about. Each person's treatment has to be carefully planned to decide what is best for you. In preparation and to identify if the procedure is right for you a number of investigations are usually carried out. These can include:

  • A full clinical examination of your face, jaws and mouth 
  • Special X rays of your face and jaws 
  • Dental impressions to make casts of your teeth 
  • Photographs of your face and mouth 
  • A speech test. 

The team will also need to know any concerns you have and also whether you are receiving (or have received) any medical treatment. Using this information, a team including orthodontists, surgeons, speech and language therapists and psychologists will recommend the best form of treatment. You may need several appointments before a final decision is made and explained to you. You might find it helpful to talk to different members of the team to find out more about the procedure and make a decision that is right for you.  The clinical psychologist in the team will speak to you about the surgery before and after the operation to make sure that you have an opportunity to ask questions when making decisions and ensure you feel supported including when you are an inpatient.

As part of preparing for this procedure you usually need to have orthodontic treatment and fixed braces to help prepare your jaw and may also see a speech and language therapist to identify if the surgery might impact your speech. The team are there to support you and can help answer any questions you may have.

If you are considering orthognathic surgery you can find out more information about the procedure here