Health and Fitness

How expensive is jaw surgery? And when it’s needed

For many patients, orthodontic care alone cannot fully address or correct dental and skeletal problems. If the root of your pain and discomfort is jaw alignment, then corrective orthognathic surgery is suggested. 

Since corrective surgery can alter a patient’s appearance dramatically, it’s a decision that requires a lot of consideration. Lasting anywhere from two to 10 hours, and costing a pretty penny, are you sure you need jaw surgery?

In this article, you’ll find the answers to two of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to jaw surgery:

  • How expensive is it?
  • When does a patient truly need surgery?

Keep reading as we provide the most honest answers around these questions.

The Cost of Jaw Surgery 

Jaw surgery involves properly aligning the upper jaw and/or the lower jaw to help relieve problems related to speaking, eating, or breathing. Jaw surgery can also be conducted for cosmetic of pain issues.

For patients without health insurance, the cost for jaw surgery ranges from $20,000 to $40,000. This price includes initial care and consultations, facility and surgeon fees, and follow-up care. The price is lower if surgery is only required on just one part of the jaw (upper or lower).

In some reconstructive cases, jaw surgery is covered by health insurance. For example, if the surgery is necessary because of issues like sleep apnea or speech impairment. Insurance will not cover cosmetic surgeries. 

If insurance does cover your specific jaw surgery, it may only cover a certain percentage or require a deductible. Out-of-pocket costs range from $100 copay to a $5,000 surgery cap from the insurance company. 

When Jaw Surgery Is Needed?

Since genetics play a large role in atypical skeletal growth, a dentist can typically tell if you will need jaw surgery. Injuries, birth defects, and several other damages can impact the alignment of your jaw. Asymmetric skeletal issues are often detected during childhood and are one of the leading causes for corrective jaw surgery. 

Here are a few things that indicate you may need jaw surgery:

  • Injury, Damage, or Bone Deformities.
  • Protruding and/or Receding Lower Jaw.
  • Sleep and Breathing Disorders.
  • Hard Time Chewing, Biting, or Swallowing Food.
  • Unbalanced Facial Appearance. 

There are also many other reasons to consider jaw surgery. For example, if you experience frequent headaches and/or jaw pain, this can be a sign of TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). Jaw surgery is also good for “open bites.” This is when there’s a between your teeth while your mouth is closed. 


The way your jaw is positioned, and your unique facial shape plays a critical role in your daily life. These structures are what allow you to speak, swallow, and breathe. It also allows your teeth to be properly supported and work in alignment with the rest of your facial muscles and joints.

Whether you want to alleviate pain, correct dental issues, or improve your facial appearance, jaw surgery is an option for you. Now that you know the approximate cost, and whether insurance will help, contact your local orthodontist to discuss your options. 

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