Surgical orthodontics

Surgical orthodontics

Surgical Orthodontics (also known as orthognathic surgery) corrects jaw irregularities to improve the patient’s ability to speak, chew and breathe and to improve facial appearance. To put in simpler terms surgical orthodontics straightens your jaw. Surgery repositions the jaw thus enabling teeth to move in proper position, so braces treatment are done in conjunction with jaw correction.

Who needs surgical orthodontics?

Surgical orthodontic treatment is done on non-growing adult patients with improper bites and those with abnormal jaw growth. Jaw growth is usually completed by the age of 16 for girls and 18 for boys. Surgery can be performed after this age. However the pre-surgical tooth movements can begin one to two years prior to these ages.

How does this work?

During your orthodontic treatment period which is about 6-18 months (depending on the severity), you will need to wear braces and adjust the braces accordingly by visiting the doctor at regular intervals. As your teeth move with the braces adjustment, you may think that your bite is getting worse than better. But, when your jaws are placed into proper position during the orthodontic surgery, the teeth will then fit into their proper positions.

Surgery is performed at the hospital with the help of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Surgery may last several hours depending on the type of surgery required. The lower jawbone behind the teeth is separated during lower jaw surgery and the tooth-bearing portion is moved forward or backward as required. In upper jaw surgery, the jaw can be repositioned forward or backward, or the jaw can be raised or lowered. Surgery may also require jaws to be separated, with bone added or removed to achieve the proper alignment and stability. Other facial bones may also be repositioned or augmented to achieve proper alignment.

You should be able to return to your routine work within two weeks after surgery is completed. Post surgery after about 4-8 weeks, orthodontist ‘fine-tunes’ your bite. The braces are removed within 6 to 12 months following the surgery. Once the braces are removed you will need to wear a retainer to maintain your perfect smile.