Surgical orthodontics involves traditional orthodontic treatment with braces to align the teeth, combined with orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery) to reposition the jaw bones. 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 orthodontic treatment is indicated for patients with facial esthetic concerns (don't like their profile or something about the way their face looks) and non-growing adult patients with significant bite problems. For some patients, jaw surgery is required in order to get the teeth to fit together properly, as the bite issue is a direct result of a jaw bone imbalance. For others, it is possible to get the teeth fitting together with braces alone, but a better overall result may be attained from repositioning the jaw bones.
How do I know if I need orthognathic surgery?
Your orthodontist can tell you if orthognathic surgery is an option for you. 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?
Patients start their treatment with braces to align the teeth into the proper position. The amount of time in braces getting ready for surgery varies greatly depending on the case, but is generally 1-2 years. 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 recovery period. Since orthognathic surgery is a major treatment, we recommend that you schedule some time away from work and school to allow for rest. After about 4-8 weeks of healing, your orthodontist will resume treatment to "fine tune" your bite. Most patients will wear braces for at least 6 to 12 months following surgery, depending on healing and how much additional tooth movement is needed.
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. Many advances have been made over the years and surgery today is much different from surgery performed even just 10 years ago. 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. Many patients note a marked improvement in their function (ability to chew, speak, breathe, etc.) and are thrilled with the improvement in their facial apperance.