Surgical orthodontics, or combined orthodontics and orthognathic surgery, is a type of orthodontic treatment used to correct severe cases that include bad bites, jaw bone abnormalities, and malocclusions. Oral and maxillofacial surgery, one of the nine recognized dental specialties, focuses on treating complex craniofacial cases involving the mouth, jaw, face, and skull. If you need surgical orthodontics, Dr. Liz and Dr. Amy 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. In order to undergo orthognathic surgery, jaw growth must usually be complete. The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the jaws do not line up correctly and a proper bite or desired appearance cannot be achieved with orthodontic treatment alone. Orthodontic braces move the teeth into their proper positions and orthognathic surgery properly aligns the jaws.
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 misalignment of your jaws, surgery may be needed.
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 up to several hours depending on the 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 finalize your bite. After surgery, your braces will usually stay on for 6 to 12 months. Just like any other orthodontic patient, when 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, orthoganthic surgery has certain risks. However, orthognathic surgery is not new and has been performed for many years in oral surgery practices and hospitals. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have and provide you with any additional information. A consult with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is also necessary to help you understand your surgery.
What are the benefit of having orthognathic surgery?
For many patients, having orthognathic surgery is key to achieving a beautiful, healthy smile. Understanding your goals and the enhancements that orthognathics can add to your final result are important. We will work with your surgeon to make sure you fully undrstand your options so you can make the choice that is right for you.