For many people, orthodontic treatment (with appliances such as braces or Invisalign) is enough to fix any problems with the teeth. However, for some, the jaw is significantly misaligned, and orthodontics alone will not be able to achieve a healthy, well-aligned bite. In these cases, surgical treatment may be used, along with orthodontics, in order to get the best outcome. The combination of methods is called surgical orthodontics, and the treatment has three main phases.
Stage 1: Orthodontics
First, the orthodontist will straighten the teeth in the jaw. This usually involves braces of some type (metal braces, clear braces, or lingual braces). During this phase of treatment, you may experience some awkwardness in your bite, or feel like the alignment of your teeth is getting worse instead of better. This is because your orthodontist is aligning your teeth to work with your final, corrected, jaw position, so that they’ll be aligned correctly after surgery.
Stage 2: Surgery
The next phase of treatment is the alignment of the jaw. This is called orthognathic surgery, and is done by a surgeon who’s a specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This surgery can involve movement of the lower jaw, the upper jaw, or both.
When the lower jaw is moved, the front (tooth-bearing) portion of the jaw is separated from the back portion, and then it is moved forward or backward as necessary, and anchored into its new position. When the upper jaw is moved, it can be raised or lowered. Sometimes, bone is added to or removed from the jaw bones. When the jaw is moved, there will be an esthetic effect on the face, as well as a functional effect on the bite.
The surgery takes several hours. It will take place in the hospital or in a surgical center. After surgery, you won’t be able to return to work or school for about two weeks.
Stage 3: Orthodontic Finishing Work
After the surgery, your treatment won’t be quite finished. Your orthodontist will continue to treat you, to get your teeth perfectly aligned for your new jaw position. This ensures that your smile ends up being just right. To accomplish this, your braces will usually be left on for about six to twelve months after your surgery. After that, they’ll be removed and you’ll get your retainers. All of the work will be worth it, because you’ll have your perfect smile.
Would Surgical Orthodontics Help You?
Your orthodontist can determine whether treatment by a surgeon would be a useful addition to your orthodontic treatment plan, and would help you get the perfect smile. At Avenue Orthodontics, orthodontists Dr. Eleni and Dr. Abraham consult with top surgeons in the area to ensure that your treatment results in the best possible outcome. If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Bayside, Douglaston, or the surrounding area, come and see us at our Whitestone office. During your complimentary initial exam and consultation, we can tell you if surgical orthodontics is a treatment option for you. Find out about all of your options, so that you can make the right decisions for the long-term health of your smile.