Surgical orthodontics refers to a type of orthodontic treatment combining the use of braces to align teeth and orthognathic (jaw) surgery to align the jaws.  This technique is used to correct severe cases of jaw bone abnormalities and misalignments that often occur in combination with severe malocclusions (bad bites).  If you need surgical orthodontics, your orthodontist will work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to ensure that you receive the best care possible.

When might surgical orthodontics be needed?

Your orthodontist will tell you if orthognathic surgery is needed as part of your treatment.  The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the jaws are mis-aligned, and a proper bite or facial esthetics cannot be achieved with orthodontic treatment alone.  Orthognathic surgery is used to properly align the jaws after the braces have moved the teeth into their proper positions within the jaws.

How does orthognathic surgery work?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery after the orthodontist has aligned the teeth with braces.  The surgery takes place in a hospital and can take several hours depending on each individual case. Once the surgery is complete, you will have a recovery period in which you would need to plan time off of work or school. After your jaw has healed, your orthodontist will work on “fine-tuning” your bite. After surgery,  braces are usually removed within 6 to 12 months. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to help maintain your new smile.

What are the rewards of having orthognathic surgery?

Orthognathic surgery is recommended when large bite discrepancies and jaw mal-alignment exist in non-growing the benefit to having surgery is achieving alignment of the jaws, the teeth and the bite when that could not have been accomplished with braces alone.  

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