Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, is performed to alleviate bite problems or facial esthetic concerns that cannot be properly corrected with braces alone. It is performed in cooperation with your doctor and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. If indicated, this surgery may improve your chewing, breathing and speech capabilities. The surgery may also greatly improve facial appearance.
How does it work?
A patient wears braces and visits the doctor for adjustments during orthodontic treatment in preparation for surgery. As the braces move the teeth, it may feel as though the bite is getting worse, rather than improving. However, once orthognathic surgery repositions the jaws, the teeth will properly fit into a good bite. Orthognathic surgery is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. It can take several hours, depending on the amount and type of surgery needed.
It will take one to two weeks to return to work or school after surgery, and six to eight weeks for the jaws to completely heal. After that, the doctor will continue to adjust your braces until your bite correction is ideal. Braces are usually removed within six to twelve months after surgery. Once the braces are removed, a retainer is worn to maintain proper alignment.