At our practice in Surrey, BC, we perform surgical orthodontic treatments to help correct jaw irregularities, and improve facial symmetry, along with a patient's ability to speak, eat, and breathe.
What does surgical orthodontics involve?
In the same way that orthodontics helps to correct misaligned teeth, surgical orthodontics (or 'orthognathic surgery') helps fix jaw irregularities to improve the patients ability to breathe, eat and speak, and to change facial appearances.
Moving the jaws also moves the teeth, so braces are always a part of jaw correction.
This helps ensure that teeth are properly positioned after surgery.
Who is a candidate surgical orthodontics?
Surgical orthodontic treatments are for non-growing adult patients who have bite problems, and for people with concerns about facial aesthetics.
For girls, jaw growth is usually completed by age 16, and for boys, at 18.
Jaw growth must be finished before jaw surgery can be performed. The pre-surgical tooth movements, however, can begin a year or two prior.
How does surgical orthodontics work?
During orthodontic treatment, which is typically 6-18 months in duration, patients wear braces, and will visit the orthodontist for regular adjustment appointments.
As the teeth move with the braces, many patients feel as though their bite is getting worse instead of better. After the jaws are properly aligned during orthognathic surgery, however, the teeth will fit comfortably into their correct positions.
What takes place during surgery?
Orthodontic surgery is performed in the hospital by an oral surgeon. It can take several hours, depending on the type of surgery needed.
During lower jaw surgery, the jawbone behind the teeth is separated and the tooth-bearing portion of the jaw is moved either forward or backward.
During upper jaw surgery, the jaw can be repositioned forward or backward, or it can be raised or lowered. Some movements might require the jaws to be separated, and bone added or removed to achieve the desired stability and alignment. Other facial bones that contribute to alignment may also need to be augmented or repositioned.
How long does recovery take?
Once your surgery is complete, you'll likely be able to return to work or school after about two weeks. After your healing time is complete (about 4-8 weeks), your orthodontist will "fine-tune" your bite.
In most cases, braces are removed about 6 to 12 months after surgery. After your braces are taken off, you'll wear a retainer in order to help maintain your new smile.