a girl is smiling after orthognathic surgery

What Does Orthognathic Surgery Cost?

Orthognathic surgery is a corrective jaw surgery that straightens or realigns your jaw, and corrects related skeletal deformities that a patient may need. At minimum, orthognathic surgery cost includes surgeon fees, hospital fees, orthodontics charges, anesthesia fees and pain medications. However, final expenses may depend on a number of conditions unique to the person.

About Orthognathic Surgery

This type of surgery, done by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) in a hospital setting which involves straightening and realigning the jaws using surgical plates or templates, screws and wires.

Why would you invest in this treatment? The main purpose is to correct a severe malocclusion (improper bite) that may be causing functional problems in daily behavior, such as speech, chewing food or even sleep apnea. You might also experience headaches, joint pain or periodontal (gum) discomfort. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the following conditions may also prompt a need for orthognathic surgery:

  • Birth defects
  • Chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain
  • Involuntary mouth breathing
  • Inability of your lips to come together without straining
  • Trauma or injury to the jaw or face
  • Open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when your mouth is closed)
  • Protruding jaw
  • Receding lower jaw and chin
  • Tumor or pathology affecting the jaw

How Orthodontics Can Affect Price

Although children may have certain birth conditions or orthodontic problems eventually requiring jaw surgery, it is generally appropriate only after he stops growing. That age is usually around 13 to 15 for girls and 16 to 18 for boys, according to Mayo Clinic. Nonetheless, early detection and treatment of a child's orthodontic problems can often prevent the need for surgery altogether.

Usually, you wear braces for nine to 18 months before the surgery. After your jaw recovers from the surgery, your orthodontist finishes aligning your teeth and eventually removes the braces. The entire orthodontic process, including surgery, may take one to three years.

Risks During Treatment

The surgery usually takes one to three hours, and requires general anesthesia, which tends to carry the risks of any major treatment. These risks include pain, swelling, bleeding, infection and adverse reaction to anesthesia. More involved processes can theoretically damage nearby bone or gums, and the anesthetic itself may cause numbness in similar areas. You typically stay in the hospital for one to two days, and have a six-week at-home recovery time. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions for home-based oral care, which, for children, typically includes brushing after every meal using a small, gentle kids' toothbrush such as the My First Colgate™ toothbrushes and toothbrushes for older children or tweens.

Cost and Insurance

Without health insurance, according to CostHelper, orthognathic surgery cost in the United States can range from about $20,000 to well over $40,000. Beyond orthodontics, other factors that can sway the cost include severity of the jaw misalignment and what type of surgery is required. Your location, the hospital treating you and complications during care can all make a difference as well.

In general, corrective jaw surgery is considered a medical procedure, not a cosmetic procedure, and is necessary to prevent more expensive medical and dental problems later in life. For this reason, some health insurance policies cover at least part of the cost of orthognathic surgery.

However you look to meet these requirements, explore any necessary pre-approvals and understand what your insurance will and will not pay for prior to treatment.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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