Surgical orthodontics, or orthognathic surgery, is needed when the jaws are out of alignment, not just the teeth. Orthodontic treatment can move the teeth within the envelope of bone that the jaw provides. However, the teeth are limited in their movement by the position of the jaws. If the jaws are out of alignment, then correction requires movement of the jaws, which involves surgery.
Orthognathic surgery has become much more safe and predictable over the years. Many surgeries are now completed as outpatient procedures with no overnight stay in a hospital. In the simplest of terms, orthognathic surgeries are completed by putting the patient to sleep under general anesthesia and moving the jaws to their correct position. The jaws then heal at their new, corrected position. Except in cases of severe trauma (broken jaws in an accident), the jaws are not wired shut like you sometimes read on the Internet or see in movies. In fact, most surgeons will encourage the exercise of the jaws to maintain a normal range of motion very soon after the surgery. The jaws are typically stabilized with elastic rubber bands that connect to the braces while they heal.
Risk vs. Reward
Any time a patient is placed under general anesthesia, there are risks associated with the surgery. However, serious complications are extremely rare. The most common complication with jaw surgery is temporary numbness of the lip. That being said, the quality of smile you can achieve with a surgical treatment is not possible in any other way. Some of the most stunning before and after photos are of surgical orthodontic treatments.
There are many orthodontists who have little to no experience treating complicated cases involving surgical orthodontic treatment. As in most things, experience can be a powerful teacher. At Budd Orthodontics, we have been treating patients with surgical orthodontic treatments for the past 15 years and we have selected only surgeons to work with who have also had ample experience treating these types of cases.
Could you benefit from surgical orthodontics?
Sometimes, it’s obvious when a patient needs surgical treatment, such as with severe underbites or asymmetries. However, most of the time, the best way to determine if a patient needs jaw surgery is to have a consultation with Dr. Budd at our Scottsdale or Phoenix orthodontic office. At Budd Orthodontics, we offer free consultations to review the needs of your case and determine the best treatment plan for achieving a beautiful smile.