Orthognathic surgery, also known as surgical orthodontics, 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 it 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 possible care.
When is Surgery Needed?
Orthognathic surgery may be used to treat adults with aesthetic concerns or improper bites. Typical jaw growth stops by age 16 for females and 18 for males. In order to receive corrective jaw surgery, the jaw must be done growing. The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the jaws do not line up correctly and a proper bite is not achievable through orthodontic treatment alone. Orthodontic treatment is used first, to prepare the teeth and jaws, so that when surgery does occur the teeth fit together properly. Orthognathic surgery will then help to properly align the jaw and improve facial balance. Finally, braces will be placed again for a shorter period of time to guide teeth into their final proper position.
Orthognathic surgery may be unnecessary if orthodontic treatment can correct the problem. With the latest advances in orthodontics, this is sometimes the case. We will determine if orthognathic surgery is the correct treatment option for you.