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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35 Comments

  1. May I ask what constitutes “medically necessary”? I have a retrognathic jaw and receding chin. I had braces as a kid, but my mouth is still crowded and my teeth are bucking out causing an open bite to which my front teeth do not meet in the front and I can no longer incise my food. My ortho as a kid mentioned sugery but never pushed the issue. Now I’m 37 and my new ortho looked at me and wrote a treatment plan for surgery. She said my gums were abnormally thin and my bottom teeth will most likely have issues in the future if the don’t get pulled up (they are bucking out). No one is telling me it’s medically necessary, but I’m just not sure what that term means then! All I know is that my bite is progressively getting worse!

    • Kerri, since we’re dealing with insurance companies, the definitions seem to be ever-changing in their benefit. As far as I know, when I had my surgery in Canada, proving it was “medically necessary” involved my surgeon writing a note explaining that, without this surgery, my future complications may require extra surgeries to correct. Keep in mind that in my province, this surgery was covered by provincial healthcare, so I did not have to personally deal with insurance. As such, my information is probably not helpful if you have to handle insurance yourself. 🙁

  2. Hi, i have a weak/receding chin and sometimes it affects my confidence, hence i am contemplating on the surgery.. i was wondering, from your point of view, will the pain be worth it in the end?
    Btw, the information stated here is very useful. Thankyou!

    • Opps hahah didnt realise there was a similar question below.

    • June, if your chin is primarily an aesthetic concern (and not a medical one), be warned that you will probably not be able to have insurance cover the cost of the operation. Insurance companies usually only help with the cost if you can prove it’s “medically necessary.” I would recommend booking a consultation with an oral surgeon to get a professional opinion on your specific situation. Best of luck! 😊

  3. I am 4 weeks post op on Wednesday. Did you get painf spasms on one side? If so how did you deal with them?

    • Leanne, experiencing spasms on one or both sides of your jaw is very normal during the first 2 months. I recall them being very frustrating and the only thing I could do to mitigate them was to apply a heat pack to the area each night to sooth the nerves. They will go away eventually, though! 😊

  4. Hi, How much did this cost you??

    • Paulo, my provincial healthcare covered the cost of my hospital stay, so I only had to pay for the surgeon’s time, which was $5,000. I also had to pay for all costs related to braces because I did not have private insurance. Hopefully you have insurance and it’s able to cover this operation in your country. 😊

  5. Hello, I have been looking into getting jaw surgery for a few years now to correct an open cross bite. I came across this page and have been reading a lot of your posts and comments which have been very helpful. I have been doing a lot of research on surgeons in New York but it can be so frustrating shuffling through all the options. Theres so much information out there I was hoping to get some reviews and info from real people who have actually been through the process. I was wondering if anyone had some insight on a few of my questions.
    1. Has anyone had their jaw surgery done in New York? If so would you recommend your surgeon?
    2. Has anyone been offered a free consultation? So far out of the three places I’ve called for an appointment it’s looking like its going to cost me around $500 to even get a straight answer as to what I can be expecting out of my surgery.
    3. For those who have gotten their surgery done in the states, did your health insurance cover a percentage of it? What did you final bills look like.
    4. After all the waiting, pain and financial burden you’ve been through, would you say that the surgery was actually worth it in the end?

    • Hi Sarah, hopefully someone from the New York area will see your comment and provide some insight.

      In the name of getting a response, I also recommend asking these questions in the chat group. There are almost 40 people from that time zone in the chat, so I imagine at least a few of them are from New York. I just sent you an invite, so feel free to join if you’d like. 😊

  6. Just wanted to say thanks man.
    This website has finally given me the confidence to go thru with this surgery to help with my breathing problems. Aka mouth breathing. I’m 23 so hopefully this can all be done before I’m 25 lol

    • Edward, I’m happy to hear you’ve made the decision to tackle this surgery. All the best with it and feel free to join the chat group to glean the wisdom of others who have been through it. 😊

  7. I have malocclusion,means my all teeth are not straight ,all I feel unconfident due my very poor speech ,I have never feel any confusion to eat any things except that I cannot bite a pear easily or proper at my front teeth.
    I want to be good teacher ,but due my poor speech I cannot say some word and people some time laugh .for example when I say,”shut” It out sound like” sut ” and cannot speak in funtly.

    • Hi Hussain, have you visited a speech pathologist to see if there are exercises that might help clear up your speech? I recommend taking that route first and only exploring the surgery route if speech therapy does not help. This surgery is quite invasive, so if it’s not medically necessary, it’s best to avoid it. Hope this helps!

  8. How did you breath after double jaw surgery? Was there packing up your nose?

    • Leanne, breathing is not really a problem following the surgery. Your nose may be clogged with dry blood and the swelling may restrict your air flow a bit, but as long as you remember to keep calm, you’ll be okay. I haven’t met anyone who has had any major issues with breathing after the surgery, so perhaps that can be a bit of encouragement for you. 😊

  9. Hi, my “off bite” was first noticed by my dentist when I was 8 years old. It was only very minor back then but I got referred to several orthodontists for it, however always got turned away as I didn’t meet the criteria for braces. At the time, I didn’t really care. I only went because my dentist referred me. My teeth and my jaw was good at the time and as a child you don’t really see the future complications. Of course as I got older, my jaw got worse. I noticed my bite had gotten a lot worse when I was around 15 and that’s where my insecurity started. Fast forward 2 years, at yet another consultation, I find out I would need jaw surgery. Everything moved fast from that point, my braces were put on and my jaw surgery journey had began. To get to my actual question though, my teeth and gums on the right hand side of my mouth have always felt weak and swollen since my jaw got worse. No matter what, they are always tender and sore and generally just feel weak. I can’t chew on that side at all. My teeth on the left hand side however, feel perfectly fine. Is this at all normal? My orthodontist has never really answered me when I’ve wondered that. It’s one of my worries that has never been answered.

    • Hi Georgina, I’m not sure what would cause your teeth and gums to be weaker on one side of your mouth versus the other side. It could be possible that your gums are receding on the right side of your mouth, which would lead to a bit of pain and tenderness. Sorry I’m not much help on this front. 😕

      • Hello I have a question. I am 2 weeks post op double jaw surgery for underbite. I notice that most of the swelling is gone I don’t like the new shape of my face. Is it premature to think that after 2 weeks all of the swelling could be gone already?

        • Hi Dee, I can almost guarantee that most of your swelling is still present after 2 weeks. It’s best not to pass any judgements on your appearance until at least 3 months have passed. Even if your face does not appear swollen at a quick glance, there is likely a lot of swelling beneath the surface that is causing your face to be somewhat lopsided and disproportionate. I encourage you to do your best to avoid worrying about appearance for a few more months. Hope this is helpful! 😊

  10. I am 15 yrs old and everytime I smile it’s uneven should I get it looked at ?

    • Carliynne, this surgery can help with underbites, overbites, and crossbites. If you are having trouble chewing, breathing, or speaking clearly, you can go for a consultation with an oral surgeon to see if this would be a good option for you. Keep in mind that you’ll need to wear braces for 2 years before the surgery, though. 🙂

  11. Hai,
    i have a lower jaw problem..its not in the correct position…and i have a slight lip. I am 16 , can i get a jaw surgery this year or should i wait for 2017 to get it done. How much would it cost me. I am from India.

    Thank you.:)

  12. Hi William, I had double jaw surgery 9 months ago. I also struggle with anxiety and panic attacks so thought I’d reply to your message to hopefully help in some way. Before my surgery I was worried about breathing after too but when I woke up it was just like I had a cold, nose is blocked for a few weeks so you’re breathing out of your mouth, abit annoying but you get used to it. Best advice I could give you for after the surgery is to remain positive and eat/drink as much as you can even when you don’t want to, it really does help. Good luck

  13. This blog help alot thank god, but still its hard i need double jaw surgery to correct my bite and to open airway and im freaked out just thinking about it has giving me panic atacks 2 this last week im a thinking i wont be able to breathe after surgery i think i picked The best surgeons but i need some advice wat can i tell them to make this safer thank and god bless

  14. Marcel, i had a double jaw surgery a month ago. The first moment I kind Of wake up, I just remember seeing my doctor. When I really woke up from it at the postop room, it was like waking up from sleeping. I felt numb, but not really on pain because you still under drugs.I think i was calm because i knew where I was and why.Hopes it helps

  15. I want the surgery but i’m not sure what do i expect when i first wake up from surgery?

  16. Vancouver Chris

    March 5, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Hi there,

    For years I’ve needed braces. When I was in the second grade, I knocked out one of my front adult teeth straight out of my mouth which then had to be immediately put back in. I had a root canal a few weeks later and eventually had it mostly fixed when I was a teenager. The problem was that this tooth sticks out big time, and is a constant sore on my self-esteem. I simply never smile.

    At the age of 28 I finally decided to have it fixed. I went to the ortho who told me that I have a serious overbite on top of the crooked tooth and a cross bite. I didn’t even know what a cross bite was but he told me that it would have a serious impact on my gums and teeth as I get older. It then turns out that even though I live in Canada, where we are supposed to have full universal healthcare, oral surgery is not covered. I can kind of see the argument not to cover ortho, but if fixing this problem is something that will impact my health, why don’t they cover the full thing? Like, if its considered medically necessary, why won’t the public insurance that I pay into through my MSP cover it?

    Seeing as that you live in Canada, my question is who is the person that determines if the procedure is medically necessary? Would it be the oral surgeon? It would suck to have to pay for the consultation, only to have them tell me that its not necessary, even though my ortho said it was ok.

    Thanks for your blog. I’ve found it very useful.

  17. I’m told I might need to get jaw surgery but I need to go to a oral surgeon first to confirm it even though the orthodontist said I might. To be honest I hate surgery and I’m scared. I had my nose done a couple of years ago because of a bump I got in an accident years ago. I don’t regret it (hell I didn’t even have any pain o_o)

    But the idea that I have to do a surgery again especially with how nervous I’am really freaks me out.

  18. Hi Graham, thank you for putting up this informative website I have found it very useful. I’m just starting my journey and should be getting braces soon, I think this surgery will make me much happier in myself, it causes me to be self conscious and sometimes I found it hard to articulate myself properly. But it’s nice to see other people have the same issues.

  19. I have the same jaw related problems, they gave me braces and said this will fix the issue it didn’t, once I receive the surgery will I have to regret braces or since I’ve already had them am I good in that part of the after procedure??

  20. Hi,
    Just wanted to let you know what a great job you did with this website. I know you have probably heard this a thousand times, but, giving the fact I am one of the many that really appreciated your effort, I thought the proper thing to do is also give you this feedback. 🙂
    I underwent double jaw surgery and genioplasty 2 weeks ago but I’m already feeling great. As far as my recovery I would say it was heaven right from the beginning, compared with your experience at least. No splint, I’ve been able to use a spoon from day 2, only lost 3 pounds so far (I wouldn’t have mind loosing some more weight, actually) :). So.. I didn’t relate so much with your level of inconvenience, starving, lack of proper oral hygiene, etc.. but still I really enjoyed reading about your experience.. It made me feel lucky and gave me less reasons to complain.. 🙂 So.. thank you very much for sharing this and basically for being the person that you are.. 🙂
    PS: I’ve noticed you love traveling (I’ve seen your photos from around the Globe on facebook – awesome pics) so if you ever consider visiting Romania (very beautiful country, by the way), I’m happy to be your guide. 🙂
    Take care,
    Iulia

    • Iulia, thank you so much for the kind words, always appreciated. If my wife and I end up near Romania when we embark on our next grande adventure early next year, we will certainly say hello!

    • Hello Iulia,
      I hope you will be able to see my message and I truly hope you will answear me. I live in Romania as well and I have been wearing braces for underbite for about 1 year and a half now and I am interested in undergoing double jaw surgery.
      I would very much appreciate it if you could talk to me about your surgery as I am very uninformed and scared. My facebook is Bianca Boscornea.
      Thank you for your time and again I hope you contact me .

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“Over the past several years, I’ve done my best to respond to every comment on this blog, but unfortunately I no longer have the time to do so. If you have questions about jaw surgery and want to connect with others on this journey, please join the live chat group. Don't worry — it's free!”

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