What is surgical
The focus of orthodontic treatment is to correct malocclusions or bad bites, but in certain cases surgical orthodontic treatment (also known as corrective jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery) is needed to correct abnormalities of the jaw and facial bones. These skeletal abnormalities often cause difficulty associated with chewing, talking, breathing, sleeping, and other routine activities. Surgical orthodontic treatment corrects these skeletal problems, and in conjunction with wearing braces to correct the misalignment of teeth, will improve the overall appearance of the facial profile and function of the bite.
Who is a candidate for
surgical orthodontic treatment?
Typically, adult patients who are finished growing and have aesthetic concerns about their facial profile or have severe malocclusions are good candidates. Female jaw growth is generally completed around the age of 16, and male jaw growth is usually completed by 18 years old. In order for surgical orthodontic treatment to be effective, patients must be finished with growing as a growth spurt can affect the results of the surgery. Teeth straightening, however, can be completed in the years beforehand.
What does surgical
orthodontic treatment entail?
When undergoing orthodontic treatment, your teeth will be moved into their corrected positions in the jaw bones by the braces. As your teeth move, it may seem as though your bite is getting worse rather than improving since the teeth are being lined up in the jaw bones that are not yet in the correct position. Once the orthognathic surgery is performed and your jaw bones are in proper alignment, your teeth will be in a beautiful and healthy position.
An oral surgeon will perform the orthognathic surgery in a hospital. The surgery can last for several hours depending on the severity of your situation. Typically with the lower jaw, the bone directly behind the teeth is separated, and the portion of the jaw with teeth is either moved forward or backward. With upper jaw surgery, the jaw can be moved in four directions: forward, backward, up or down. With this surgery, bone is usually added or removed to help accommodate the moving of the jaw. Other facial bones may also be altered or shifted to complete the facial alignment.
After surgery, you can return to school or work after a couple weeks. You will need approximately four to eight weeks for healing, and after the healing period, your orthodontist will do the final detailing of your bite. If you have braces, they are typically removed within six months after the surgery.