Surgical Orthodontics

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 appearance. In other words, surgical orthodontics straightens your jaw. Moving the jaws also moves the teeth, so orthodontic treatment is always performed in conjunction with jaw correction.  This helps make sure teeth are in their proper position after surgery.

Who needs orthognathic surgery?

Dr. Bob Good and Dr. Ron Good will consider orthognathic surgery treatment for non-growing adult patients with improper bites and patients with facial aesthetic concerns. Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16 for girls and 18-20 for boys.  All growth must be complete before jaw surgery can be performed. However the pre-surgical tooth movement (braces) can begin one to two years prior to these ages.

How does orthognathic surgery work?

During your orthodontic treatment, which usually lasts 18-24 months, you wear braces and will visit Drs. Good 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 in proper alignment during orthognathic surgery, the teeth will then fit into their proper position.

Surgery will be 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 move 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 or removed to achieve the proper alignment and stability.

When you have completed surgery, you should be able to return to work or school within two weeks. After necessary healing time (about 4-8 weeks), Dr. Bob Good and Dr. Ron Good “fine-tune” your bite. In most cases, braces are removed 6-12 months following surgery. After braces are removed, you will wear  retainers to maintain your beautiful “Good” smile.