Surgical orthodontics or orthognathic surgery is used to correct severe cases such as bad bites, jaw bone abnormalities, and malocclusion. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is one of the nine recognized dental specialties and focuses on treating complex craniofacial cases that involve the mouth, jaw, face, and skull. If your treatment plan requires surgical orthodontics, your orthodontist will coordinate with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to ensure that you receive the best comprehensive care.

In what casesis surgical orthodontics needed?

Surgical orthodontics is used to treat adults with improper bites or other severe aesthetic concerns. Jaw growth is typically complete by age 16 in females and 18 in males. To be eligible for orthognathic surgery, the jaw must be done growing. Surgical orthodontics is needed in cases where the jaws do not line up correctly, preventing a proper bite from being achieved with orthodontic treatment alone. Orthognathic surgery will align the jaw, and orthodontic braces can then be used to shift the teeth into their proper position.

How do I know if I need orthognathic surgery?

After a thorough examination, the orthodontist will determine if orthognathic surgery is necessary as part of your treatment plan.

How does orthognathic surgery work?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery in a hospital. Orthognathic surgery can take several hours and once the surgery is complete, you will have a recovery period of about two weeks. Orthognathic surgery is a major treatment and we recommend scheduling some time away from work and school during the recovery period. After your jaw has healed, you will have to wear braces but most braces are removed within six to 12 months after surgery. After your braces are removed, you will be required to wear a retainer to ensure that your new smile becomes permanent.

What are the risks associated with orthognathic surgery?

As with any major medical-surgical procedure, there are risks associated with having orthognathic surgery. However, the process of orthognathic surgery has been tried and perfected over time. Your comfort is important to us, if you have more specific questions about the risks or the overall procedure, don’t hesitate to reach out to our practice.

What are the rewards of having orthognathic surgery?

A beautiful and improved smile is usually the most sought-after reward of having orthognathic surgery. However, for some patients, the reward also comes in the form of increased comfort from a newly aligned jaw, improved speech, or even the improved ability to chew food normally.