Orthognathic Surgery (jaw realignment)

Orthognathic surgery is an operation to reposition the jaws.

The operation aims to correct imbalance between the upper and lower jaws, which enables the teeth to bite together correctly. This also has the benefit of balancing and enhancing your facial appearance.

You might need orthognathic surgery if you have a jaw alignment that can't be resolved with orthodontic treatment alone. Jaw surgery can help to:

  • Make biting and chewing easier and improve chewing function
  • Minimize excessive wear and breakdown of teeth due to an abnormal bite
  • Correct and improve the fit of teeth when biting together or jaw closure issues (for example, when the molars touch but the front teeth don't. This is called an anterior open bite)
  • Correct facial imbalance, such as facial asymmetry, mismatch of size and proportion of upper and lower jaws and a recessive or prominent chin
  • Improve the ability of the lips to close fully
  • Repair long term effects of facial injury with permanent bite disturbance
  • Provide relief for obstructive sleep apnoea

In most cases, patients have to wear braces to align and straighten their teeth before surgery. The braces are kept on during surgery and  during the recovery period until healing and dental alignment is complete.

Contact us


Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) 

Main switchboard on 01392 411611



North Devon District Hospital 

Main switchboard on 01271 322577

Where to find us

Your healthcare professional will advise where your appointment will take place. Your appointment may take place at one of our outpatient clinics situated within our main hospital sites or within the community.

Eastern services

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) 

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

Barrack Road



Level 1, Area J

Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

We hold a combined Orthognathic Surgery Clinic on Wednesday mornings at Wonford Hospital.


Northern Services

North Devon District Hospital 

North Devon District Hospital

Raleigh Park



EX31 4JB

Meet the team

Mr Michael Esson, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon (subspeciality Orthognathic Surgery)

Dr Matthew Moore, Consultant Orthodontist

Mrs Amelia Jerreat, Consultant Orthodontist

Mrs Louise Kneafsey, Consultant Orthodontist

Services and treatments

Our Orthognathic Surgeon works with a team of orthodontists (specialist dentists) to determine individual treatment plans for each patient.

Surgical treatments available, include:

  • Maxillary (Upper Jaw) Osteotomy
  • Mandibular (Lower Jaw) Osteotomy
  • Genioplasty (Chin surgery)
  • Bimaxillary (Both Jaws) Osteotomy

An osteotomy is an operation where a bone is cut to shorten, lengthen, or change its alignment.

Patient information leaflets

We produce a wide range of leaflets which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

We also produce these in different formats including large print, please contact the department you are visiting for more information.

Find out more

Information for healthcare professionals

Last updated: November 16, 2022.