Orthodontist specializing in jaw surgery cases in Jacksonville, FL
What is surgical orthodontics?
Just as orthodontics repositions teeth, surgical orthodontics (also known as orthognathic surgery) corrects jaw irregularities to improve the patient’s ability to chew, speak, and breathe and for improved facial appearances. In other words, surgical orthodontics straightens your jaw. Moving the jaws also moves the teeth, so braces are always performed in conjunction with jaw correction. This helps make sure teeth are in their proper positions after surgery.
Who needs surgical orthodontics?
Your orthodontist will consider surgical orthodontic treatment for non-growing adult patients with improper bites and those with facial aesthetic concerns. Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16 for girls and 18 for boys. All growth must be completed before jaw surgery can be performed. However the pre-surgical tooth movements can begin one to two years prior to these ages.
How does it work?
During your orthodontic treatment, which usually lasts 6–18 months, you wear braces and will visit your orthodontist for scheduled adjustments to your braces. As your teeth move with the braces, you may think that your bite is getting worse rather than better. However, when your jaws are placed into proper alignment during orthognathic surgery, the teeth will then fit into their proper positions.
Surgery is performed in the hospital with an oral surgeon, and can take several hours, depending on the amount and type of surgery needed. In lower jaw surgery, the jawbone behind the teeth is separated and the tooth-bearing portion is moved forward or backward, as needed. In upper jaw surgery, the jaw can be repositioned forward or backward, or the jaw can be raised or lowered. Certain movements may require the jaws to be separated, with bone added/removed to achieve the proper alignment and stability. Other facial bones that contribute to alignment may also be repositioned or augmented.
When you have completed surgery, you should be able to return to school or work within two weeks. After the necessary healing time (about 4–8 weeks), your orthodontist "fine-tunes" your bite. In most cases, braces are removed within 6–12 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to maintain your beautiful new smile.
The following cases are actual patients treated by Dr. Ng:
Small Lower Jaw Retreated with Jaw Surgery
Adult patient had orthodontic treatment in his teens with removal of 4 permanent teeth but his overbite remains uncorrected. To maximize facial esthetics, he opted for the surgical option. He had double jaw surgery and wore braces for 20 months and is very happy to be able to chew really well now. The resulting facial and functional improvements are definitely worth it.
Open Bite Treated with Jaw Surgery
15 year old teenage girl presented with an open bite that was corrected with double jaw surgery. She wore braces for 19 months. She also had gum surgery to her upper front teeth after the braces were removed to improve the appearance of these teeth. Now she has an awesome smile.
Underbite Treated with Jaw Surgery
25 year old male patient with an underbite and a retrusive upper jaw. Upper jaw surgery in conjunction with full braces for 19 months resulted in a full correction of his bite.
For more information on our Orthodontic Surgeon, call Kok-Tow Ng, DDS in Jacksonville, FL at (904) 731-0521!