Surgical orthodontics, also referred to as orthognathic surgery, addresses the abnormalities in the relationship of the upper and lower jaw, that can affect the position of your teeth. Poor jaw alignment can interfere with your speech, chewing, breathing , and proper facial symmetry and balance. Orthognathic surgery means “changing jaws” and involves the collaboration of an orthodontist with an oral surgeon. The surgeon moves the jaws in the right position, and the orthodontist makes sure that the teeth fit properly together.
Orthognathic surgery is considered as a treatment option for patients, when orthodontic treatment alone, cannot address the bite and facial aesthetic concerns. This process can only be done for non-growing patients. Sometimes in the case of patients in their late teens, the orthodontist may choose to take serial cephalometric x-rays to determine the end of the growth phase, before initiating treatment. Serial cephalometric x-rays are special x-rays taken of your profile, to determine the relationship of the upper to lower jaws. These can be taken annually and superimposed onto one another, to measure the amount and direction of growth. Once the orthodontist determines that the growth is complete, surgical orthodontic treatment can begin.
Surgical orthodontic treatment begins with the placement of the braces by the orthodontist. In this pre-surgical phase of treatment, the orthodontist brings the teeth in the proper orientation and alignment over the jaw bone. Then the oral surgeon performs the surgery and brings the upper and lower jaw in the right relationship. After the surgery, the orthodontist fine tunes the bite, in the post-surgical phase of treatment.