Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a type of orthodontic treatment used to correct severe cases that include bad bites, jaw bone abnormalities, and malocclusion. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is one of the nine recognized dental specialties, and it focuses on treating complex craniofacial cases that involve the mouth, jaw, face, and skull. If you need surgical orthodontics, your orthodontist will work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to ensure that you receive the best care possible.
When might surgical orthodontics be needed?
Surgical orthodontics may be used to treat adults with improper bites or other aesthetic concerns. Typically, jaw growth stops by age 16 in females and 18 in males. The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the upper and lower jaws do not line up correctly, and a proper bite cannot be achieved with orthodontic treatment alone. If the jaw position is not ideal, we may not be able to move the teeth enough to get the bite to line up. Orthognathic surgery will help properly align the jaws, and orthodontic braces will then be used to move the teeth into their proper position.
How do I know if I need orthognathic surgery?
We will tell you if orthognathic surgery is needed as part of your treatment. After obtaining diagnostic records one of the doctors can discuss orthognathic surgery if it is indicated. Depending on the severity of your case and the alignment of your jaw, you may or may not need surgery.
How does orthognathic surgery work?
You will begin your orthodontic treatment before the surgery. Generally, we level and align the arches so that they will have a good fit for the surgical procedure. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will then perform your orthognathic surgery. Once the surgery is complete, you will have about a one-to-two-week rest period. Since orthognathic surgery is a major procedure, we recommend that you schedule some time away from work and school during the healing process. After your jaw has healed, your orthodontist will once again “fine-tune” your bite. After surgery, you will have to wear braces, and most braces are removed within six to twelve months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to help maintain your new smile.
What are the risks associated with orthognathic surgery?
As with any major medical surgery, there may be certain risks of having orthognathic surgery. However, this process is not new, and it has been performed for many years. If you're concerned about an upcoming treatment with orthognathic surgery, please contact our practice and let us know. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have, and provide you with any additional information. Your comfort is important to us!
What are the rewards of having orthognathic surgery?
For many patients, the most important reward of having orthognathic surgery is achieving a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Choosing surgery, when indicated, can provide a great result without stressing the teeth and supporting gum tissues. Whether you need orthodontic treatment to correct a bad bite, malocclusion, or jaw abnormality, orthognathic surgery can help restore your confidence and leave you smiling with confidence for many years to come.