When a patient has a severe malocclusion, such as a significant underbite or crossbite, which cannot be corrected through orthodontic treatment alone, a patient may be referred to an oral surgeon to address the problem and improve the smile’s function and appearance.
The type of procedure performed in such cases is orthognathic surgery. This word comes from the Greek words “orthos,” for “straighten,” and “gnathic,” meaning of the jaw. This type of surgery will bring a patient’s jaws into the proper alignment.
This category of surgery may also give relief to patients with painful temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders or to correct damage that occurred as a result of facial trauma.
In cases when such jaw surgery is recommended, the oral surgeon will often collaborate with an orthodontist to develop the treatment plan and determine the best timing of the procedure. The orthodontist likely will want to begin repositioning the teeth before the surgery is performed and then continue to move the teeth into their final spots afterward.
Depending on the complexity of the jaw surgery, the patient may be able to undergo the procedure in an outpatient setting. Your surgeon will discuss this aspect of treatment with you as you prepare for the surgery.
As part of the treatment planning process, you should talk to your surgeon about what you need to do to get ready for your orthognathic surgery, as well as the post-operative instructions you should follow to minimize your risk of complications. You may need to alter your normal routine as you recover after the surgery. To prepare for this, get as much information as possible before your scheduled surgical appointment.
Jaw surgery can help to improve your smile’s appearance if you suffer from a misaligned jaw. Has your orthodontist recommended that you consider this type of procedure to achieve your treatment goals? If so, schedule an initial appointment with one of our knowledgeable practitioners to learn more about the process.