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.

More on what we do

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.

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.

Our 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

Where to find us

RD&E Wonford, Barrack Rd, Exeter EX2 5DW

Level 1, Area J

Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery


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


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