Surgical Orthodontics

Surgical Orthodontics Old Tappan, NJWhat is surgical orthodontics?

Just as orthodontics repositions teeth, surgical orthodontics (also known as orthognathic surgery) corrects jaw irregularities to improve the patient’s ability to chew, speak, and breathe and for improved facial appearances. In other words, surgical orthodontics straightens your jaw. Moving the jaws also moves the teeth, so braces are usually utilized in conjunction with jaw correction.

Who needs surgical orthodontics?

Your orthodontist will consider surgical orthodontic treatment for non-growing adult patients with improper bites and those with facial esthetic concerns. Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16 for girls and 18 for boys. All growth must be completed before jaw surgery can be performed. The pre-surgical tooth movements, however, can begin one to two years prior to these ages.

How does it work?

Orthodontic treatment before surgery may lasts 6-18 months. As your teeth move with the braces, the bite may look worse rather than better. When your jaws are placed into proper alignment during orthognathic surgery,however, the teeth will then fit into their proper positions.

Surgery is performed in the hospital by an oral surgeon. It can take several hours, depending on the amount and type of surgery needed. In lower jaw surgery, the jawbone behind the teeth is separated and the tooth-bearing portion is moved forward or backward, as needed. In upper jaw surgery, the jaw can be repositioned forward or backward, or the jaw can be raised or lowered. Certain movements may require the jaws to be separated, with bone added or removed to achieve the proper alignment and stability. Other facial bones that contribute to alignment may also be repositioned or augmented.

When you have completed surgery, you should be able to return to school or work within two weeks. After the necessary healing time (about 4-8 weeks), your orthodontist “fine-tunes” your bite. In most cases, braces are removed within 6 to 12 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to maintain your beautiful new smile.

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