Just as orthodontics repositions teeth, surgical orthodontics corrects jaw irregularities to improve the patient’s ability to chew, speak, and breathe. Improved facial appearance is also a benefit to surgical orthodontics.
Moving Your Jaw Moves Your Teeth
Moving your jaw also moves the teeth, so braces are always performed in conjunction with jaw correction surgery. This helps ensure that your teeth are in their proper positions after surgery. When you have completed surgery, you should be able to return to school or work within two weeks. After the necessary healing time, Dr. Mario Paz fine-tunes your bite to perfection. Average healing time is 4-8 weeks.
Who needs surgical orthodontics?
We will consider surgical orthodontic treatment for non-growing adult patients with improper bites and those with facial aesthetic concerns. Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16 for girls and 18 for boys. All growth must be completed before jaw surgery can be performed. However, the pre-surgical tooth movements can begin one to two years prior to these ages.
How does it work?
During your orthodontic treatment, which usually lasts 6-18 months, you wear braces and will visit your orthodontist for scheduled adjustments to your braces. As your teeth move with the braces, you may think that your bite is getting worse rather than better. However, when your jaws are placed into proper alignment during orthognathic surgery, the teeth will then fit into their proper positions.
The surgery is performed in the hospital with an oral surgeon, and can take several hours, depending on the amount and type of surgery needed. In lower jaw surgery, the jawbone behind the teeth is separated and the tooth-bearing portion is moved forward or backward, as needed.
In upper jaw surgery, the jaw can be repositioned forward or backward, or the jaw can be raised or lowered. Certain movements may require the jaws to be separated, with bone added or removed to achieve the proper alignment and stability. Other facial bones that contribute to alignment may also be repositioned or augmented.
How soon will I heal from jaw surgery?
When you have completed surgery, you should be able to return to school or work within two weeks. After the necessary healing time (about 4-8 weeks), your orthodontist “fine-tunes” your bite. In most cases, braces are removed within 6 to 12 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to maintain your beautiful new smile.