What is surgical orthodontics?
Surgical orthodontics (also known as orthognathic surgery) corrects jaw irregularities by moving the jaws into their proper position. Some of the benefits of surgical orthodontics are improving the patient’s ability to chew, speak, and breathe. One of the major and most visible changes of surgical orthodontics is the improvement in the facial appearance. Moving the jaws also requires movement to the teeth, so braces are always placed in conjunction with surgical treatment. This assures that the teeth are in their proper positions once surgery has been performed.
Who needs surgical orthodontics?
Dr. Newman will consider surgical orthodontic treatment for non-growing adult patients with improper bites, and those patients concerned with facial aesthetics. Typically, jaw growth is 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 orthodontic treatment can begin one to two years prior to these ages.
How does it work?
You will begin your orthodontic treatment, just like any other patient. The orthodontic treatment will usually last about six to 18 months and you will have regular appointments with Dr. Newman during this time. As your teeth align, it is normal for you to think that your bite is getting worse rather than better. However, during the orthognathic surgery your jaws will be placed into their proper position and your teeth will ultimately fit together as well.
The surgical procedure takes place in a hospital setting with an oral surgeon, and can take several hours, depending on the amount and type of surgery being performed. You will be able to discuss the type of surgery and the exact details of your surgery and recovery with the oral surgeon prior to even beginning orthodontic treatment with Dr. Newman.
When you have completed surgery, you should be able to return to school or work within two weeks. After the necessary healing time (about four to eight weeks), Dr. Newman will “fine-tunes” the position of the teeth and bite. In most cases, braces are removed within six to 12 months after surgery. Just like any other orthodontic patient, after your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to maintain your beautiful new smile.