Surgical Orthodontics Explained

Orthodontic treatment covers a wide variety of options for correcting and aligning a person’s teeth and jaw. Traditional orthodontics that most think of involves metal appliances such as braces, retainers, palate expanders, and other, more invasive options. For most patients, this type of treatment is sufficient for their overall oral health or cosmetic needs. However, for patients that require more extensive correction, that’s where surgical orthodontics comes in. As its name says, surgical orthodontics is a type of orthodontic work that requires surgery for positioning and correcting.

Orthognathic surgery, otherwise known as surgical orthodontics, is a subset of orthodontic work to correct many different health and aesthetic concerns. This option for treatment requires surgery to fix jaw/bite problems or skeletal abnormalities that cannot be corrected by traditional orthodontic treatment alone.

What Causes The Need For Surgery?

Like many other abnormalities, needing corrective surgery can be genetic, caused by environmental factors, jaw or face injury, or are the result of birth defects.

Who Can Benefit From Surgical Orthodontic Treatment?

There are several reasons a person requires surgical orthodontic treatments, such as

  • severe overbite or underbite that causes chewing, biting, and speaking problems due to underlying jaw displacement
  • abnormalities in the overall appearance of the facial bones
  • TMJ (temporomandibular) disorder: a disorder where the jaw and jaw bone don’t move correctly to perform everyday functions

Surgical orthodontic treatment can only be used on adults, as adult jaws have stopped growing. Doing surgery on a child or adolescent whose jaw and facial structure may still shift is not recommended. Additional problems may arise in the future that could require more surgery, or the child’s abnormality may correct itself in time, rendering surgery unnecessary.

Surgical Orthodontic Procedure

Adults who suffer from the following are often candidates for surgical orthodontics:

  • Problems speaking
  • Problems chewing
  • Problems biting
  • Trouble putting their lips together comfortably
  • Excessive wear of the teeth
  • Receding chin
  • Protruding jaw 

Orthodontists will decide upon the need for surgical orthodontic treatment through consultation or routine care. The orthodontist will then monitor the condition(s) and determine what the next best step for treatment is. Patients can expect to talk to their provider about a multitude of topics, but especially:

  • Their overarching diagnosis and analysis of all discrepancies
  • Purpose of treatment
  • Treatment options and timelines
  • Risks and benefits of different types of surgery

In surgical orthodontics, close consultation and treatment with the patient’s primary dentist, an oral surgeon, and a maxillofacial surgeon are common to ensure patients receive all-inclusive care. Typically, traditional orthodontic work (such as metal or invisible braces and other applicable orthodontic appliances) precedes and succeeds surgical orthodontic work for this exact reason.

How Can Surgical Orthodontic Treatment Help Patients?

Surgical orthodontic treatment aims to help alleviate pain in the mouth, face, jaw, and other subsequent symptoms that stem from the initial abnormality, such as headache. It can also help patients by correcting cosmetic issues of the face and jaw that have caused functional issues or self-esteem issues. 

Surgical orthodontics, just like any other orthodontic work, is a common method of treatment. With all different types of specialists working in conjunction to execute a specialized care plan, patients can rest assured that whatever the abnormality is, surgical orthodontics is a safe and viable option for correction. For questions about the need for surgical orthodontics, contact Dougherty Orthodontics for a complimentary consultation today!