Reasons to Get Jaw Surgery

Countless people have asked me why I decided to undergo double jaw surgery (commonly referred to as getting the **** kicked out of your face).

I made my decision for the following reasons:

  1. I had a desire to chew with all of my teeth, as opposed to only using my very back molars
  2. I was tired of my slight lisp
  3. I wasn’t a fan of spitting every time I said anything
  4. I didn’t enjoy always having my mouth hanging open
  5. I was keen on breathing through my nose
  6. I didn’t like the look of my side profile
  7. I want to avoid future complications

1. Chewing

An underbite generally goes hand-in-hand with a crossbite. Since your teeth fail to line up naturally, you end up being only able to chew with your back molars (the big ones). It makes eating a lot more work.

2. Lisp

Underbites cause lisps in a person’s speaking. It has something to do with how your tongue sits in your mouth.

3. Spitting

When you have a underbite, your lower jaw is heavier, thus hanging open most of the time. Saliva then pools in that part of your mouth, so when you attempt to say something, spittle is flung into the air along with your words.

4. Mouth Hanging Open

Once again, since the lower jaw is elongated and heavier, it hangs open unless you make a conscious effort to keep your mouth closed.

5. Mouth Breathing

Since your jaw is always hanging open, you end up breathing through your mouth instead of your nose, thus missing most of the scent in your life.

It’s sad that someone actually made money with this…

6. Side Profile

Personal appearance affects a person’s confidence in a very real way. When you’re not comfortable with your side profile, you end up smiling less, you try to avoid pictures where you’re not looking straight at the camera, and so on. There’s no shame in wanting to feel good about yourself.

7. Future Complications

People with unaligned jaws are prone to shaving their teeth down and developing hindering cross bites later on in life. While you can never be sure if those things will happen to you specifically, 90 days of recovery is a small price to pay to prevent years of nuisance down the road.

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(example of a recent conversation)


  1. Graham,
    hi, do you have any recommended jaw surgery in Singapore or else in Asian country ? I plan to have jaw surgery. am Malaysian.
    Thank you

    • James, I know a few people from Singapore who have had this operation and are happy they did it. I don’t know of any surgeons personally, but if you ask your orthodontist, I’m sure they can recommend someone. Also, I must admit, I was in Malaysia a few weeks ago and I love your country. Delicious food, friendly people, and beautiful islands. =)

  2. I am not into the surgery but I have been told by two ortho’s I need surgey with braces.. did you look at other options other than surgery?

    • Ruth, there aren’t many non-surgical options to get around jaw placement. If your jaws are almost in the correct place, some orthodontists will simply tilt your top and bottom teeth to lead you to an appropriate bite, but if your teeth aren’t touching in any reasonable manner, surgery seems to be the only sustainable path. It’s intense, but the recovery is only temporary. The financials are another pain point, so hopefully your country has some type of reasonable coverage. I recommend the operation.

  3. Hey Graham et. al!

    What a really fantastic blog, and what a super young man you are.

    I have a question to/for anyone who reads this: how does your surgeon know where your jaw should be positioned when this is determined by more than your teeth? That is, your jaw is mobile on more than 6 planes due to muscle movement, and if there is a problem in muscles (they are shortened because of injury or repetitive strain), your jaw will be in a different position than it would be if the muscles were healthy.

    So if the muscles might not be healthy, how does your surgeon or orthodontist have any idea where to move the bones after they cut?

    • Mary, to be honest, I’m really not sure. I know some surgeons have programs that can show a rendering of how your face will look and function post-op, but those images are speculations at best. I guess I just trusted that my surgeon had performed this same operation many times before me. Any experienced surgeon will perform their measurements, take their x-rays, and be able to make fine-tuned adjustments during the surgery. I wouldn’t doubt their abilities. =)

  4. Hi, I’m Amity, and I happen to have your first name as my last haha. Anyway I am 17 and I have braces to try and fix my jaw problems, but I don’t think it is going to work. I know it sounds silly to doubt my dentist’s expertise but I feel like things are going all wrong. Last year I had some really bad TMJ where I could barley eat because my jaw would not want to open all the way, with every bite I had to force it to pop open to get the food in my mouth. To try and fix this, instead of just fixing my jaw which he told me had not developed right, he decided to pull some (4 of the little baby molers next to the canines) teeth so that he could put braces on and hope that once my teeth were straight everything would be normal. But alas now that my teeth are almost completely straight, I still have jaw problems. They are not as severe as they used to be, I can eat a lot better my jaw will still get stuck, my lips still wont meet without force, and I have no idea where my actual bite is supposed to be because my teeth are not lining up right. It does not bother me too much look wise but I think I would be more confident if I had a nice smile. I also do not want further complications down the road. I think the surgery is neccesary but I do not know how I would get it, and I am afraid it could be too expensive for me because I think I would need to get my old 4 teeth put back in and I do not know if it would be on both upper and lower jaw or just my lower jaw. Any thoughts as to what I should do or who I should talk to about this?

    • Amity, it sounds like you’ve already been through some tough dental work, so props to you for staying strong through that. I would honestly look up oral surgeons in your area and go speak with a few of them (definitely more than one). Ask them for their honest opinion on whether the operation would solve your alignment issues. Most of the surgeons out there are good, honest people, and they’ll usually give you a straight answer. I wouldn’t worry about money and insurance until after you’ll spoke with a few surgeons to see if it’s at all necessary. Good luck!

  5. Kathleen, I was really scared about the post-surgery breathing thing, too. I have had panic attacks before that have been scary enough to land me in the ER, so I was sure I would freak out with my mouth banded and my nose blocked. Didn’t happen! 🙂 I think, in part, that was thanks to the strong narcotics I was on that first week — they kept me feeling pretty relaxed. Plus right out of surgery they had oxygen for me, and Afrin to keep my nose passages open. It wasn’t until a little later in the recovery process that I felt uncomfortable with my breathing, and by that time I could open my mouth a little and clear my nose somewhat.

    Things that helped me when I got home:
    – A humidifier
    – Afrin
    – Saline nasal spray
    – Q-tips and water + hydrogen peroxide
    – A small electric fan to blow air on my face

  6. Hi!
    Wow, your blog is amazing – terrifying for someone who is anxiously counting down the months til surgery lol. I’m feeling very anxious about not being able to breathe through my mouth in the beginning and the whole idea has been causing extreme anxiety for me. What was your experience with settling any panicing thoughts related to breathing (if any)?

    • Kathleen, I wasn’t really worried about anything going into the surgery. I figured worrying wasn’t going to help anything, so I chose not to. However, if you’re worried about breathing, I assure you that everything will be alright. You may feel slightly claustrophobic for the first week or so, but if you’re able to calm yourself down and breathe slowly, you’ll have no trouble getting through the first days. Also, remember to eat slowly so you don’t get caught in any coughing bouts. You’ll be fine, I promise! =)

  7. I first found this site 2 years ago and have prepped for surgery (muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory meds and educating myself) nearly the whole time. I finally had double-jaw surgery June 6th. I was home for five weeks and ended up BACK in the hospital. As far as I know it was nothing the Dr. did. There were three possibilities. The 2nd hospital stay was 3 days and started out in the emergency room b/c I couldn’t swallow and the pain was intense. Possibly developed a latex allergy after the fact, drank something too hot (b/c you can’t feel anything) or developed thrush from vitamin deficiency due to post-surgery diet.. (though I tried hard to do as told) among others. They couldn’t look inside my mouth to make a diagnosis. I was banded shut (completely liquid diet with syringe and tubes) 7 weeks before the stint came out. I also got sick when trying to swallow pain meds. It seems like people downplay this surgery… and I know it’s different for everybody, but I had a heck of a time. And I understand about the communication problem. I could tell I was getting dehydrated around day 6 and had overheard the Dr. explaining when to take a pulse to my husband. I was passing out on the kitchen floor, trying so hard to tell him I needed him to check my pulse, etc. It took 10 full minutes of fading in and out to get that across. He would ask q.s from across the room when I had no way to respond. We were both prepared for a straw diet, but it’s two months and the swelling is such that I still can’t use a straw. I can spoon in food now. I lost 25 pounds and just gained 10 back the last two weeks. My end results will hopefully take care of all the pain. Ear pain, face pain, migraines, exposed nerves in my teeth… etc. It was completely structural.. a very bad bite causing inflammation. It feels more worth it now, but weeks 1-8 I would not have recommended it.

    • Angela, it sounds like you had a rough experience! I’m glad you’re still focusing on the end results and looking at this as a positive decision. Once you’re completely healed up, I think you’ll appreciate your new form and function. Here’s hoping the next few weeks of recovery bring you much healing!

  8. Hello!

    I currently experience all the issues you had before surgery. I have a severe open bite and class III malocclusion, but I can’t help but be sooooo excited for surgery because of the future results (such as not having to use my tongue to bite into pizza!!!!).

    I am having (I think) double jaw surgery in about nine months. My brother is getting married a month after that…how recovered from the surgery were you at that point?

    Your website is really helping me understand what I am getting into—thanks 🙂

    • Lizzy, you’ll be able to attend the wedding a month post-op, but you’ll still be fairly swollen and speaking will likely be difficult. If those things don’t bother you, you should be okay! You’ll be able to dance for a bit at any rate. =)

  9. Hi, I am very interested in this surgery since 2002. I am 28 and I am seld conscious about my face. I know I am not a bad looking person but when I look in the mirror, my jaw bone protrudes and when I take pictures, I notice that one side of my has a round(er) shape to it while the other side looks ‘normal’. Its weird to describe and no one seems to notice it until I tell them or we both look into a mirror and they see it. When I take pictures, I like to tilt my head to the right and my pictures please me, but if I point my head to the left or straight, Im disgusted with the pic and I quickly delete them. I will try to post pics of me but in the meantime, I have this thing that I do since I was a baby. I stick my tongue out when I’m relaxing\sleeping and I think this surgery will help me with that as well. Good luck to you all!

    • Bap, I generally recommend this surgery for both medical and cosmetic reasons. If your bite needs correcting (unable to chew properly, speaking with a lisp, mouth hangs open, etc.), the operation will fix those things. Alternatively, if you’re not confident in your smile, it’s worthwhile to talk to a surgeon to see if they advise you to go through the trauma of surgery to remedy that. Smiling is a big part of life, after all. Good luck with your decision!

  10. T minus 10 hours till surgery.
    theyre pulling my upper jaw back and up, my bottom jaw back and up, my chin forward and up, as well as extracting my wisdom teeth because i havent had the pleasure of doing that yet.

    already tried and then bought a case of chocolate ensure and some chicken broth as well as some chunky beef and potato stuff.

    like you, im most afraid of the IV, i had to have the blood tests done and i just soldiered through that so i think i should be okay.

    i finished your blog a couple days ago and it was both inspiring and funny and im ready to go at this head first and take whatever life throws at me. ive got an early appointment tommorrow so im off to sleep but i just want to thank you for the guidance and a good explanation of why people choose to go through this.

    And off we go!

    • Good luck, Mat! It sounds like you’re well prepared for the battle that lay ahead of you. Enjoy the Ensure and remember to get outside for walks each day during these initial few weeks. All the best!

  11. So I’m getting my surgery in a week from… well it’s next Thursday.
    My Orthodontist told my parents I’d be able to recover perfectly fine in 2 weeks and I have my Boy Scouts Eagle Project that I’m supposed to be leading and that needs to be finished by August 23rd because I go off to college the next day.
    Also, I’m 5’10” and only about 118pounds… So I can’t afford to lose much weight.

    Firstly, I feel like a two week recovery is just ridiculous and I really don’t believe them but I’ll be speaking again with the oral surgeon on Tuesday so I can hopefully set my parents straight on that front.
    Secondly, do you have any advice on things that helped make you feel energized and that you could actually do things? Any tips for communicating within the first week or two?
    Third, do you have any tips for food or anything that seemed to help stabilize your weight? I have a hair trigger gag-reflex and I don’t think I’ll be able to hold down most pureed foods 🙁

    That’s pretty much it. I really enjoyed reading your blog and it helped give me a much better sense of what this is probably going to be like so thank you so much! 😀

    • Nice to meet you, Mat.

      I wouldn’t worry about losing weight. If you’re already light, you likely won’t lose too much.

      You likely won’t recover “perfectly fine” in 2 weeks. I would ensure you have at least 1 month before you need to commit to anything important.

      As for energy, that will come back naturally. The only thing you can do to land yourself with more energy is to eat and drink as much as possible, but at the end of the day, your body is going to use all of your calories to heal itself until it deems you fit for life again.

      Your best offense is to not think about it, honestly. Just have the surgery and deal with each day as it comes. You’ll be back to normal 3 months post-op and life will be okay again!

  12. Ali, the recovery for an overbite should be more or less identical to that of an underbite.

  13. I’m having a double jaw surgery also! But it’s for an over bite? Should recovery be any different than yours?

  14. I remember being out of sorts during those initial days, Amanda. Try to get some fresh air each day and try to enjoy this down time. You likely won’t believe me right now, but in a few short months, you’re going to wish you could go back to just resting all day again. =)

  15. Well, I had my surgery and right now the swelling is what is causing me the most grief. My face is so huge, but I took your advice and started blogging. It was easier to do when I wasn’t so easily distracted and drugged up though! All of my friends and family are enjoying the blog, but sometimes I feel like I’m just sharing a lot of pointless information. I’ll be visiting you blog again as I recover to see how I line up with your recovery.

  16. Hi Amanda!

    The splint is frustrating, yes, but there are worse things that could happen. The time will fly by and you’ll be glad you went through with it at the end of the day.

    I encourage you to blog simply to give yourself something to take your mind off of all the food you won’t be eating and all the words you won’t be saying. That sounds harsh, but you’ll understand me completely by next week.

    You’re going to do great, Amanda. Keep me posted with your stories!

  17. Well, it turns out my jaw narrowed again (I’ve had a pallet expander put in twice) meaning my surgeon has to surgically widen my mouth. So I get to have a splint in my mouth for 8 weeks too! I’m not too excited based on your complaints throughout the blog about it, let’s hope it’s not too much of a pain!

    Surgery is in less than 5 days! I’m getting nervous, but I am thinking about doing a blog about my experience. Should I do it?!

    Thanks for all the help and wise words!

  18. Oh, cool! Well good luck with the rest of your degree, and let me know how your recovery treats ya!

  19. Haha thanks!

    Aw yeah Aus is alright 😉 Haha nah, i’m really lucky to live here. Canada is actually one of the places i’ve always wanted to visit, so hopefully when I finish uni I can!

    I’m studying Marketing & Design, my last year then doing my MBA afters 🙂

  20. Hello there, Emma! I think you just won the award for the longest comment ever! =)

    I’m glad you found these words helpful, and I definitely appreciate all of your kind remarks. I actually lived in Australia a few years ago, so I’d like you to know that you live in a really cool part of the world.

    You’re going to love having your splint gone in a few days. That day cannot come soon enough!

    What are you taking in university?

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