Orthognathic Surgery – Surgical Orthodontics
Occasionally, there are orthodontic cases that may require surgery for correction. Surgical orthodontics, or orthognathic surgery, is used in situations where there are abnormalities in the jawbone, severe malocclusion or when the bite is extremely off. When a severe orthodontic issue requires surgery, your orthodontist works with a specialist to ensure the best possible outcome. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon specializes in treating complex craniofacial cases that involve the mouth, jaw, face and skull.
The bite is the way in which the upper and lower teeth meet. Ideally, your upper and lower teeth fit together with molars comfortably matching each other and the front upper teeth slightly overlapping the bottom front teeth. An irregular bite occurs when there is an underbite, in which the lower jaw juts forward with front lower teeth overlapping the upper teeth. There may be an overbite, when the upper front teeth are significantly overlapping the bottom teeth or a crossbite, which is a type of misalignment.
Severe irregularities in the bite may need to be corrected surgically. Orthognathic surgery is done after the jawbone stops growing. Generally, jawbone growth is completed in females by age 16 and age 18 in males. Surgery may be required to make corrections if the jaw does not line up correctly and orthodontic treatment alone will not produce the desired results. The surgery helps correct the bite by aligning the jaw properly. After surgery, orthodontic braces are used to move the teeth into the correct position.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Severe Orthodontic Problems
After a thorough examination and evaluation of your mouth, your orthodontist will discuss with you the findings. The severity of your case, along with jaw alignment, are factors in the decision on whether surgery should be included in treatment.
If surgery is required, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform the procedure in a hospital. Each case is unique, and some surgeries can take several hours. Expect a two-week period of recuperation after the surgery. We recommend that surgery takes place during a time in which you can adjust your schedule to accommodate recovery time.
Once you have healed from the surgery, your orthodontist will “fine-tune” your bite. Braces will be placed on your teeth to move them into the proper position. This process of movement takes between 6 to 12 months, depending on the severity of the case. Once your teeth are in the desired position, you will need to wear a retainer to help keep them in place and maintain your new smile.
Your orthodontist will talk to you about the risks and rewards of orthognathic surgery. This type of surgery has been performed for many years, and Dr. Schatz works with skilled surgeons who have years of experience. Your new and improved smile will last a lifetime and help you achieve a new level of self-confidence.
Be sure to contact Schatz Orthodontics to schedule a consultation appointment, and have all your questions about orthognathic surgery answered.