Orthognathic surgery, known as surgical orthodontics, is a surgical procedure to correct jaw deformities by adjusting the position or length of the jaw.
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. Orthognathic surgery is not always necessary and is dependent upon the severity of the case.
Who Needs Surgical Orthodontics?
Orthodontists consider surgical orthodontic treatment for cases beyond the scope of dental correction alone and for patients with aesthetic facial concerns. Before jaw surgery can be performed, jaw growth should be completed. Normally jaw growth stops by age 16 for females and by age18 for males. Surgical treatment is considered for patients with severe bite problems and asymmetries that cannot be corrected with braces.
How Do I Know if Surgical Orthodontics Is Required for Me?
Consult with your orthodontist and he will advise if orthognathic surgery is necessary. It depends on the severity of your case and the alignment of your jaw.
How Does It Work?
The orthodontist works closely with top oral and maxillofacial surgeons to coordinate a treatment plan. Patients then undergo an initial period of orthodontic treatment to align the teeth so that they will fit together properly after surgery is completed. Surgery is usually not scheduled until the teeth have been properly aligned. Orthodontic appliances remain in place throughout the entire process and aid in stabilizing the teeth and jaws immediately post-surgery. With the advent of rigid fixation, there is no need to “wire the jaws shut,” as in the past.
Is Orthognathic Surgery Worth the Risks?
Every surgery has a number of risks associated with the procedure. However, the process of orthognathic surgery is not new, and it has been performed for many years in practices and hospitals. If you are concerned about an upcoming treatment including 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 additional information. Your comfort is important to us.
Rewards of Having Orthognathic Surgery
Orthognathic surgery moves your teeth and jaws into positions that are more balanced, functional, and healthy. It also helps to improve your bite and function. Many patients experience enhancements to their appearance, breathing, and speech. Orthognathic surgery has the ability to enhance a patient’s life, giving him/her the comfort needed to eat properly and, often, freedom from pain.