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Surgical Orthodontics (Orthognathic Surgery)

Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a type of orthodontic treatment used to correct severe cases that include bad bites, jawbone abnormalities, and malocclusion. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is one of the nine dental specialties, and focuses on treating complex craniofacial cases that involve the mouth, jaw, face and skull. Your orthodontist will work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to ensure that if you need surgical orthodontics, you receive the best care possible.

When might surgical orthodontics be needed?

Surgical orthodontics may be used to treat teens and adults with improper bites or other aesthetic concerns. Typically, jaw growth stops by age 16 in females and 18 in males. The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the jaws do not line up correctly, and a proper bite cannot be achieved with orthodontic treatment alone. Orthognathic surgery facilitated by our orthodontic practice will help properly align the jaw, and braces will then be used to move the teeth into their proper position.

How do I know if I need orthognathic surgery?

Your orthodontist can tell you if orthognathic surgery is needed as part of your treatment. Depending on the severity of your case and the alignment of your jaw, you may or may not need surgery.

How does orthognathic surgery work?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery, and the surgery will take place in a hospital. Orthognathic surgery can take several hours depending on each individual case. Once the surgery is complete, you will have about a two-week rest period. Since orthognathic surgery is a major treatment, we recommend that you schedule some time away from work and school during the healing process. After your jaw has healed, your orthodontist will once again “fine-tune” your bite. After surgery, you will have to wear braces, and most braces are removed within six to 12 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer 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 with orthognathic surgery. Orthognathic surgery is not new, and has been performed for many years in orthodontic practice and hospitals. If you’re concerned about an upcoming orthognathic surgery, please contact our orthodontic practice and let us know. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have, and provide you with any additional information. Your comfort 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 that lasts a lifetime. Whether you need orthodontic treatment to correct a bad bite, malocclusion, problems with spacing of teeth, protruding front teeth, crowding of the teeth or jaw abnormality, orthognathic surgery can help restore your confidence, and keep you smiling for many years.

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