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. After initial consultation with our specialists at City Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry we will referr you to an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon that collaborates with us on such cases.
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. In order to receive orthognathic surgery, the jaw must be done growing. The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the jaws do not line up correctly, and a proper bite cannot be achieved with orthodontic treatment alone. Orthognathic surgery will help properly align the jaw, and orthodontic braces will then be used to move the teeth into their proper position.
How do I know if I need orthognathic surgery?
Your orthodontist can tell you if orthognathic surgery is needed as part of your treatment. 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?
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery, and the surgery will take place in a hospital. Orthognathic surgery can take several hours depending on each individual case. Once the surgery is complete, you will have about a two-week rest period. Since orthognathic surgery is a major treatment, 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 12 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, the process of orthognathic surgery is not new, and it has been performed for many years in practices and hospitals. If you're concerned about an upcoming treatment with orthognathic surgery, please contact our practice and let us know.
What are the rewards of having orthognathic surgery?
Corrective jaw surgery moves your teeth and jaws into positions that are more balanced, functional, and healthy.
Who needs corrective jaw surgery?
In some cases, your upper and lower jaws may have grown at different rates. Injuries and birth defects may also affect jaw alignment. While orthodontics can usually correct problems when only the teeth are misaligned, corrective jaw surgery may be necessary to correct misalignment of the jaws. If you suffer from any of the following conditions, you may be an excellent candidate for corrective jaw surgery:
- Difficulty chewing, biting food, or swallowing
- Chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headache
- Excessive wear of the teeth
- Open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
- Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side
- Facial injury or birth defects
- Receding chin
- Protruding jaw
- Inability to make the lips meet without straining
- Chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth
- Sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring)
Receiving treatment to correct any of the above conditions is a commitment, not only to your health, but to your happiness as well.