Surgical Orthodontics

surgical orthodontics

Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a type of orthodontic treatment used to correct severe problems that include bad bites, jaw bone abnormalities, and malocclusion. 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. If you need surgical orthodontics, your orthodontist will select an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to work with 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 related to bone growth and development. Typically, jaw growth stops by age 18 in females and 22 in males. In order to have stable results after orthognathic surgery, the jaws must be done growing. The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the jaws do not line up correctly or have grown asymmetrically and a proper bite cannot be achieved with orthodontic tooth movement alone. Orthognathic surgery, in conjunction with braces,will properly align the jaws and teeth.

How do I know if I need orthognathic surgery?

Dr. Woods can tell you if orthognathic surgery is needed as part of your treatment. Depending on the extent of the misalignment of your jaws, you may or may not need surgery.

How does orthognathic surgery work?

Dr. Woods will take orthodontic diagnostic records, determine a treatment plan and place braces on your teeth to align them prior to surgery.  After at least 6 months, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery, in a hospital. Orthognathic surgery can take several hours depending on what needs to be done. Once the surgery is complete, you will have about a two-week recovery period. Since orthognathic surgery is the resetting of bones, we recommend that you schedule some time away from work or school during the healing process. After your jaw has healed, Dr. Woods will  “fine-tune” your bite by adjusting the braces. After surgery, most  patinets have their braces removed within six to 12 months after which you will wear retainers to help maintain your new smile.

What are the risks associated with orthognathic surgery?

As with any major medical surgery, there may be certain risks of having orthognathic surgery. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will explain them to you.  However, the process of orthognathic surgery is not new, and it has been performed for many years in practices and hospitals. If you're concerned about an upcoming treatment with orthognathic surgery, please contact our practice and let us know. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have, and provide you with any additional information you might need. Your understanding of the surgical procedures and confidence in their success is important to us.

What are the rewards of having orthognathic surgery?

For many patients, the most important reward of having orthognathic surgery is achieving a beautiful, healthy smile and bite that lasts a lifetime. Whether you need orthodontic treatment to correct a bad bite or jaw abnormality, orthognathic surgery can help you feel good about your appearance and bite and leave you smiling for many years to come.


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American Association of Orthodontics American Board of Orthodontics Tufts University Sirona The Dental Company Lythos Carriere