Orthognathic surgery—better known as surgical orthodontics—is a form of treatment that we can utilize to correct severe problems with the teeth and bones. This surgery is completed by a surgeon who specializes in it, having undergone training as a dentist, orthodontist, and finally as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. It can correct complex cases of craniofacial abnormalities involving the mouth, jaw, face, and skull.
Knowing When Surgery Is Needed
Most orthodontic problems can be corrected with the use of appliances alone. The younger the patient is when diagnosed, the easier it is to avoid surgery. Because this surgery can be difficult on the patient, our preference is to avoid it whenever possible.
However, it isn’t always possible. The more severe the problems are, the more likely it is that it will be needed, and older patients whose bones are done growing are not candidates for other methods of treatment. Surgery can be done once the patient’s jaw is done growing—around 16 for females and 18 for males.
Patients and their parents cannot determine on their own if surgery is needed. Only an orthodontist can tell. If there are any concerns, schedule an appointment.
How Does Orthognathic Surgery Work?
The exact process of a surgery will depend on what is needed. However, the procedure will take place either in a hospital or in a specialized outpatient surgical center. A trained surgeon will perform the surgery with the assistance of an anesthesiologist. The surgery will take anywhere from an hour to several hours and recovery may be in the hospital or at home. In general, time off from work or school will be needed. Once healed from the surgery, braces are used to fine-tune the bite.
Is This Surgery Dangerous?
All surgeries come with certain risks. However, when compared to many other forms of surgery, orthognathic surgery has relatively few potential complications. This surgery is not new, and it is performed by highly trained and experienced individuals. You should not go into surgery anticipating that anything will go wrong.
Ultimately, the results of the surgery are worth any difficulties involved. As we only recommend surgery when it is needed, you can be confident that if we suggest it, it will greatly improve your quality of life. To learn more, schedule a consultation.