Are you unhappy with your smile and the appearance of your jawline? Perhaps you don’t have a noticeable jawline because of a weak chin. Maybe the problem is a severe underbite where your lower jaw comes forward and protrudes over your upper jaw, causing your face to look deformed.

Some jaw problems are hereditary. If your close relatives have a weak chin or an underbite, you’re more likely to have one too. Other problems stem from childhood, such as issues caused by a thumbsucking habit. Jaw problems can also stem from birth defects or traumatic accidents. Whatever the cause, orthodontic surgery can resolve severe jaw problems that braces alone can’t.

Karen Reese, DDS, MS, at Reese Orthodontics in New Hope and Chanhassen, Minnesota, is a board-certified orthodontist with over 20 years of experience. She’s in the Mpls. St. Paul Magazine Hall of Fame for being voted “best orthodontist” more than five times. If you need orthodontic surgery, you’re in safe hands with Dr. Reese.

Following are five conditions that can benefit from orthodontic surgery.


If you or your child has an underbite, your lower teeth protrude more than your upper teeth, making your lower jaw jut forward too much. If it’s very mild, an underbite may be able to be corrected with braces, but if it’s very noticeable and makes your face appear abnormal, surgery is needed.

When a severe underbite needs surgical intervention, the jaws aren’t properly aligned and you or your child may suffer jaw pain. An underbite can interfere with speaking and chewing food.

Especially during the teenage years, any facial structure that isn’t within the norm can be a source for bullying and social isolation.

Surgery may entail breaking and shortening the lower jaw or lengthening the upper jaw. Wires and screws hold the revised jaw in place.

Weak chin

A weak chin means your lower jaw doesn’t align properly with your upper jaw. Therefore, the upper jaw appears to jut forward unduly while the lower jaw doesn’t have a defined shape. You’re missing a jawline and the skin appears to hang from your face onto your neck.

Men can cover a weak chin with a beard, but women can’t cover the problem. If severe enough, it can appear as a deformity and cause psychological and emotional problems along with a perpetual lack of self-confidence. Orthodontic surgery can correct a weak chin.

Open bite

An open bite occurs when the upper and lower teeth in the front angle outward and leave an open space when the mouth is closed.

Like an underbite, an open bite can cause difficulty in chewing food and problems speaking and pronouncing words correctly. Because more pressure is placed on the teeth in the back, they may receive undue wear and be prone to fracturing.

If you’re an adult with a severe open bite, surgery is recommended along with braces to correct the problem. Surgery removes some of the bone and positions the upper jaw to align correctly with the lower jaw.

If your young child’s open bite is the result of thumb sucking, behavior modification is recommended so that as permanent teeth grow in, the problem resolves itself.

Birth defects

If your child was born with a cleft palate or other birth defect that affects the teeth and jaws, orthodontic surgery can reshape your child’s face so that they’ll have a normal facial structure. Micrognathia is a birth defect which causes a smaller than normal lower jaw. Maxillary hypoplasia is another defect in which the child has a smaller than normal upper jaw which makes the face appear too flat, while the lower jaw appears to jut forward too far.

Trauma from an accident

If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident or other type of accident that caused trauma to your mouth and jaw, orthodontic surgery can help restore function and a normal aesthetic appearance. If you have an unstable fracture, Dr. Reese moves the jaw back into place during surgery.

Call our office most convenient for you or book an appointment online today to see how orthodontic surgery can change your misaligned or abnormal jaw development and restore your facial features to a normal appearance.

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