Traditional braces and Invisalign are great orthodontic treatments that can help you improve your smile. Unfortunately, they can only do so much. If you have certain types of severely poor bites, you may need to undergo a surgical procedure as part of your orthodontic correction.
What is Surgical Orthodontics?
Surgical orthodontics is specifically designed to treat severe cases that cannot be treated with only the use of traditional braces or Invisalign. These severe orthodontic cases often involve misaligned jaws.
The goal of surgical orthodontics is to reposition the jaw or other surrounding bone so everything is properly aligned. What needs to be done will vary on a case by case basis as every patient has a unique situation.
Who is a Good Candidate for Surgical Orthodontics?
Most patients that need braces are not good candidates for surgical orthodontics. This type of orthodontic treatment is typically only recommended for young adults or adults. These individuals are good candidates for this type of treatment because the facial bones have fully formed and cannot be repositioned with other non-invasive orthodontic treatment options.
Every individual’s body grows at a different rate. However, the facial and jaw bones usually fully form in males around the ages of 17 or 18 and females around the ages of 15 or 16.
Is the Surgical Treatment Performed by an Orthodontist?
Think of surgical orthodontic as a team effort. An orthodontist is usually the one to recommend orthodontic surgery as a treatment option. Once it is recommended, you will be referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who will perform the specific surgery.
How Will You Know if You Need Surgical Orthodontics?
Orthodontists will usually be able to determine if you need surgical orthodontic treatment during your consultation. After your initial consultation, your orthodontist will take digital photos and x-rays of your teeth, jaw, and facial structure. These images will help your orthodontist determine how your teeth and jaw are aligned and what will need to be done to fix it.
After evaluating the images that were obtained, your orthodontist will determine if surgical orthodontics is needed. Surgical orthodontics is used as a last resort when no other orthodontic treatment will work. So your orthodontist will try to come up with a non-invasive treatment option that will get you the smile you want before recommending surgical orthodontics. Occasionally there is a nonsurgical option that will yield an improvement, but a less than ideal result, and there is an additional surgical orthodontic option that is the ideal plan. In this situation, the desired result will dictate which option should be selected.
What to Expect After Your Oral Surgery
Most surgical orthodontic plans involve a presurgical phase of braces, followed by the surgery, then a postsurgical phase of orthodontic treatment. Most surgical orthodontic plans are close to two years of total treatment time.
The amount of time it will take for your jaw or facial bones to fully heal will vary depending upon the type of surgery that needed to be done. However, the average healing time is between six weeks and four months.
After you have fully healed, you will head back to the orthodontist. Most of the time, elastics bands will need to be worn following the surgery to detail the bite.
Once your braces are removed, you will be given a retainer. The retainer will help prevent your teeth from shifting back into their old position. We usually recommend wearing the retainers close to full time for the first six months, followed by night time wear forever.
If you believe you may need surgical orthodontics, give Melbourne Orthodontics, located in Melbourne, Florida, a call to schedule a consultation. Our experienced orthodontist will be able to assess your case and determine what treatment options will be needed to get you the smile you have always wanted. Call us today to schedule a consultation.