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Jaw surgery is a treatment plan for patients with complications in their upper or lower jaws. Whether their issues develop naturally or from facial injuries or traumas, patients can rely on surgery procedures from a trusted maxillofacial surgeon for necessary correction or jaw realignment.

If you are facing jaw surgery or have questions about what jaw surgery can entail, take a look at our detailed answers to some commonly asked questions.

How Many Types of Jaw Surgeries Are There?

There are three major types of jaw surgeries:

Maxillary Osteotomy

A maxillofacial surgeon can perform a maxillary osteotomy on the maxilla (upper jaw) to correct complications like:

Protruding upper jaw – when the maxilla sticks out more than usual.
Receding upper jaw – when the maxilla sits too far back.
Open bite – when jaw alignment issues cause the back molars to not make contact when the mouth is closed.
Crossbite – when jaw alignment issues cause the lower jaw to sit to the left or right of the upper jaw.
Midfacial hypoplasia – when the midface (including the upper jawbone) does not grow as much as the other parts of the face.

Mandibular Osteotomy

Mandibular osteotomy is a surgery for the mandible (lower jaw) to correct issues like:

Protruding lower jaw – when the mandible sticks out more than normal. This is often referred to as an underbite.
Receding lower jaw – when the mandible sits too far back, causing the patient to look as if they have a severe overbite. This is often referred to as retrognathia.


Genioplasty is also referred to as chin surgery and is performed to correct a receding chin. It can benefit patients with severe retrognathia (when the chin sits too far back due to a receding lower jaw) and chin deficiencies.

Can Jaw Surgery Correct Sleeping Issues?

Maxillomandibular advancement is an available procedure to help correct sleep issues like excessive snoring or obstructive sleep apnea.

Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA)

Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) is a surgery that targets both the upper and lower jaws to help treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Patients with OSA are not affected by CPAP machines or nonsurgical solutions because their jaws contribute to airway obstruction during sleep.

MMA has a 90% success rate and provides overall improvement for quality of life and medical health.

What Can I Expect During Recovery from Jaw Surgery?

Recovery can vary depending on the type of surgery you receive. However, most procedures require several weeks of recovery time. Your face will likely experience bruising and swelling for the first few days, and you can hopefully return to normal function in 4 to 6 weeks.

Dr. Tomlinson performs successful jaw surgeries for his patients at Athens Oral Surgery Center. If you need jaw realignment or are experiencing any complications with your jaws, schedule a consultation with Dr. Tomlinson today: 706-549-5033