At our Coquitlam, BC practice, we recommend surgical orthodontics for the correction of jaw irregularities, which can improve the patient's facial symmetry and ability to chew, speak and breathe comfortably.
Just as orthodontic treatment repositions teeth, surgical orthodontic treatment (also known as orthognathic surgery) corrects jaw irregularities.
In combination, orthodontics and orthodontic surgery can improve a patient's ability to speak, chew, and breathe, and can also improve facial balance and aesthetics.
In short, surgical orthodontics straightens your jaw.
Because moving the jaws inevitably moves the teeth as well, corrective jaw surgery is almost always done in conjunction with braces treatment.
This helps make sure teeth are in their proper positions after surgery.
An orthodontist will suggest surgical orthodontic treatment only for adult patients whose jaws are completely finished growing.
However, the pre-surgical tooth movements (using braces or other orthodontic appliances) can begin a couple of years before jaw growth is complete.
This can be done in the form of traditional braces, lingual braces, or Invisalign, to name a few options.
Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16 for girls and 18 for boys.
Before your jaw surgery takes place, you will likely need to undergo orthodontic treatment, in the form of braces, or Invisalign. Orthodontic treatment typically lasts 6-18 months, during which time your braces will do their work, and you'll visit your orthodontist for regular adjustment appointments.
You may find that, as your teeth move during orthodontic treatment, your bite feels like it's getting worse rather than better. This is to be expected, however, because your teeth are being moved into the position they'll need to be in for a proper bite post-surgery.
Once your jaws are properly aligned during orthognathic surgery, your teeth will fit into their proper positions.
Your surgery will be performed in the hospital by an oral surgeon. Depending on the type of surgery you need, it may take several hours.
In lower jaw surgery, the jawbone is separated behind the teeth, and the tooth-bearing portion is moved forward or backward, as necessary.
In upper jaw surgery, the jaw can be raised or lowered, or repositioned forward or backward. Some movements require the jaws to be separated, with bone added or removed to achieve the desired alignment and stability. Other facial bones that contribute to alignment may also be augmented or repositioned.
After surgery, you should be able to return to school or work within about two weeks. After a 4 - 8 week healing period, your orthodontist will "fine-tune" your bite.
Most of the time, patients' braces are removed within 6 to 12 months after surgery. Once your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer for a period of time in order to maintain your beautiful new smile.
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