What is surgical orthodontics?

Just as orthodontics repositions teeth, surgical orthodontics (also known as orthognathic surgery and/or jaw surgery) corrects jaw irregularities to improve the patient's ability to chew, speak and breathe. It also improves facial appearance. This requires a team effort between our doctor and an oral surgeon. Moving the jaw also moves the teeth, and braces are always needed in conjunction with surgical orthodontics. This helps make sure that the teeth are in their proper positions after surgery.

Lower Jaw Moved Forward
Lower Jaw Moved Back

Who is a candidate for surgical orthodontics?

Our doctor will consider surgical orthodontic treatment for non-growing patients with improper bites due to jaw irregularities, and those with facial esthetic concerns.

Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16 for girls and 18 for boys. All growth must be completed before jaw surgery can be performed. The pre-surgical tooth movements, however, begin 1 to 2 years prior to the surgery. During the orthodontic phase of treatment, which usually lasts 12 to 18 months, the patient will wear braces and visit our doctor with scheduled adjustments of the braces. As the patients teeth move with braces, the bite will get worse rather then get better. When the jaws are placed into proper alignment during the orthognathic surgery phase however, the teeth will then fit into their proper positions.

These surgeries are performed in a hospital or same day surgical center by an oral surgeon. Patients are fully asleep during the procedure and are usually kept in the surgical center for 1 to 2 days in order to make sure everything is alright before they are sent home.

When surgery is completed, the patient should be able to return to school or work within 2 weeks. After the necessary healing time (about 4 to 6 weeks) our doctor will fine-tune the bite. In most cases, braces are removed within 3 to 6 months following surgery. After braces are removed, the patient will wear retainers to maintain their beautiful smile.

Surgical orthodontics is an involved process but yields spectacular results, both for your teeth and facial appearance.