Orthognathic surgery—or surgical orthodontics—is used to correct severe irregularities in the jaw. The goal is to improve any number of factors, such as appearance, joint pain, and the ability to chew food. In addition to the surgery, braces will be worn to perfect the alignment of the bite.
How Does Surgical Orthodontics Work?
Surgical orthodontics starts with wearing braces prior to surgery. Once the teeth are in the best position they can be given the issues with the jaw, it is time for the surgery. This is usually performed in a hospital but might be in a surgical center. It should take several hours and the patient may stay overnight or go home the same day. After, it will feel like the bite is worse than before, but that is because there is still one step left: the final set of braces, which get the teeth into perfect alignment.
Post surgery, the patient can expect to take a couple of weeks away from work and school. After the jaw is fully healed, the second set of braces are used. In all, the process can take several years to complete.
Who Is a Candidate for Orthognathic Surgery?
Anyone with severe abnormalities of the jaw is a candidate. However, the surgery cannot be performed until bone growth is complete. For females, this is age 16, and for males, age 18. However, the first braces can be worn earlier, giving patients a head start. To know if you need surgery, you must be seen by a doctor. Contact us to schedule your appointment.
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