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What Is It?

Corrective jaw surgery – also called orthognathic surgery – is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth.

Common Symptoms of Candidates


Difficulty chewing, biting, swallowing food


Chronic jaw or jaw joint pain & headaches


Excessive wear of teeth


Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side


Open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)


Inability to make the lips meet without straining


Facial Injury or Birth Defects


Receding lower jaw and chin


Chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth


Sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring)


Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs orthognathic surgery?

Patients whose teeth don’t bite correctly, underbites (class III malocclusion), overbites (class II malocclusion), open bite (where the front teeth don’t touch and can’t cut food or any teeth don’t touch when the teeth are biting together) and other bad bites (malocclusions) such as cross bites. Orthognathic surgery is also done to move the bones of the face to correct skeletal deformities which may be causing problems. One such problem is obstructive sleep apnea. Moving the jaws can open the airway and help the patient breath. It can also correct facial disharmonies such as lip incompetence or unaesthetic smiles.

What are the benefits?

Improvement in the occlusion (bite) of the teeth and function of the jaws is the most common benefit. But other benefits include improved airway, lip function, overall oral health, correction of obstructive sleep apnea, and improved facial appearance and speech.

What if I need it but don't want to have it done?

There may be some orthodontic (tooth movements) that could compensate for the malocclusion partially. These changes may produce undesirable effects, such as periodontal recession, improper tooth wear and unattractive facial changes. It is likely that your dental malocclusion will relapse due to the underlying skeletal malocclusion if left untreated. Careful consideration of the entire dento-facial complex is important in reaching a decision.

What all is involved?

Evaluation by our team consists of history, physical exam, special x-rays and cephalometric work-up (measurement of the face and jaw bone). Also, evaluation by an orthodontist is needed because braces are part of the treatment. If you are interested in jaw surgery and would like to see if you are a candidate, please reach out and we will set you up with a free consultation and evaluation of your occlusion.

Who can have it done?

Almost anyone. Some serious medical conditions may make the risk outweigh the benefits. Our team can give you a complete risk assessment at the time of consultation.

How long is surgery?

The surgery can range from 1 1/2 to 6 hours depending on the various type of surgical procedures involved. There may be several types of procedures involved in the surgery.

How long is the whole process?

About 2 years. The first step is 6 months to a year of pre-surgical orthodontics to set up the jaw and teeth for the surgery. Next the surgery takes place with approximately 3 months of healing along with post-surgical orthodontics which is completed over 3 months to a year.

How long do you have to take off from work, school, etc?

Two weeks of free time is needed for post-surgical recovery. Some patients are able to return to semi-normal activities in only one week.

What are the restrictions of my activities after surgery?

Each patient varies depending on the surgery that was performed, however, after six months prior to surgery, there are few restrictions and the bones will be fully mature at the two year mark. Typically with our patients, there are no restrictions after six months.

Does medical insurance cover it?

Depending on the case, medical insurance will sometimes cover costs of orthognathic surgery. We make exceptional efforts to help the patient retrieve insurance benefits.


What Our Patients Say

“I Love My Smile”

Dr. Leach and his team were amazing and made me feel comfortable during my journey of having jaw surgery. He gained my trust quickly because he made sure he discussed all my options and reasons why I needed the surgery. After my jaw surgery, I love my smile and is no longer self-conscious about my jaw or the way my chin looks. I could not have asked for a better team or experience.

Candice C.

“One of the Biggest Fans”

In December of 2019, Dr. Daniel Leach performed an extensive oral surgery on our 19-year-old son. In the 4 to 5 years of preparation for this surgery with our orthodontist, Dr. Loring Ross, we met with many qualified oral surgeons. Our son felt most comfortable and confident with Dr. Leach, as did we. The communication between these two doctors was evident. In layman’s terms, my sons lower jaw was shifted to one ...

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Julie C.

"Love, Care, & Compassion”

Dr. Leach and all of his team treated me great. I received great customer service along with great patient care. Dr. Leach and his wife were great with me throughout this lengthy procedure. Not everyone can do what they do and actually enjoy doing it. Not everyone treats their patients with love, care, and compassion like they do. I felt 0 pain while under their care. They made my procedure as ...

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Emma V.

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4986 Calvin Street

North Charleston, SC 29418

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(843) 408-4808

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