Surgical Orthodontics

A dentist examines orthopantomogram in her hands

Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a type of orthodontic treatment used to correct severe cases that include dysfunctional bites and jaw bone abnormalities. There are special oral and maxillofacial surgeons whose practice mainly focuses in orthognathic surgery.

When might surgical orthodontics be needed?

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. Orthodontic braces are used to move the teeth into their proper position in preparation for the surgery when the oral surgeon will properly reset the jaw.

The combination of orthodontia and orthognathic surgery can achieve a more stable result for patients with severe skeletal discrepancy than braces alone.

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 stay overnight at the hospital. Since orthognathic surgery is a major treatment, we recommend that you schedule one to two weeks away from work and school during the healing process. After your jaw has healed, your orthodontist will continue to “fine-tune” your bite for about six to twelve months.

Are there risks associated with orthognathic surgery?

As with any major medical surgery, there may be certain risks of having orthognathic surgery. However, the process of orthognathic surgery is not new, and it has been performed for many years in practices and hospitals. The oral surgeon will go over the risks in great detail and answer all your questions.
For many patients, the most important reward of having orthognathic surgery is achieving a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.
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