Surgical Orthodontics

What is surgical orthodontics?

Just as orthodontics repositions teeth to create healthy smiles and beautiful facial aesthetics, surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, corrects severe cases that include bad bites, jaw bone abnormalities, and malocclusion to improve the patient’s ability to chew, speak, breath and and improve overall facial appearance.

Who needs surgical orthodontics?

Your orthodontist is the expert and will consider surgical orthodontic treatment for non-growing adult patients with improper bites and those with significant aesthetic imbalance. Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16 in girls and 18 in boys, and many surgeries require that growth be completed before surgery is considered. However, pre-surgical tooth movement is required in preparation for the needed surgery.

How does orthognathic surgery work?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery in a hospital after the teeth are aligned by the orthodontist for about 12 months. Your braces will still be in place during the surgery. Once the surgery is complete, you will have about a two-week rest period before Dr. Baughman will resume fine-tuning your bite to its best fit. After surgery, you will still have to wear braces for an additional six to 12 months. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to help maintain your new smile.

What are the risks associated with orthognathic surgery?

As with any major medical procedure, 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. Dr. Baughman and your oral surgeon will have evaluated the risks and discussed them with you for your  understanding and consent, and feel that the benefit outweighs those risks in your case. The decision to proceed with the recommended treatment is yours.

If you’re concerned about an upcoming treatment with orthognathic surgery, please contact our practice and let us know. We are happy to answer any questions you may have, and provide you with any additional information. Your comfort is important to us.

What are the rewards of having orthognathic surgery?

For many patients, the most important reward of having orthognathic surgery is achieving a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Whether you need orthodontic treatment to correct a bad bite, malocclusion, or jaw abnormality, orthognathic surgery can help restore your confidence and leave you smiling with confidence for many years to come.

To summarize:

  • PRE-SURGICAL PHASE: about a year of orthodontic treatment in preparation for for the surgerical care
  • SURGICAL PHASE: one day, in-hospital procedure; one or two jaws depending upon the problem and correction required
  • POST-SURGICAL PHASE: about six to 12 months of additonal orthodontic treatment to finish to a high standard of care