In most cases issues with overbites, underbites, tooth crowding, etc. can be remedied with one of the traditional orthodontic treatment options offered at South Texas Orthodontics. However, sometimes patients have skeletal or dental irregularities that require more modified, invasive forms of treatment. That is where orthognathic surgery comes in.
Orthognathic surgery, or corrective jaw surgery, is performed when problems with teeth and bite alignment cannot be corrected through traditional orthodontic treatment (for example braces or Invisalign). While the reasons for needing orthognathic surgery vary, what doesn’t is the procedure’s ability to correct the extensive oral issues you may be experiencing.
Types of Procedures
There is often a stigma associated with the word “surgery” that leads people to believe a procedure will be more severe than it actually is. But in truth a large number of orthognathic surgeries are performed as routine, in-office procedures. For example, one type of common orthognathic surgery is the extraction of impacted wisdom teeth (molars that don't fully protrude through the gums), which is a very straightforward procedure that many people are familiar with.
Who Can Benefit from Orthognathic Surgery?
Many oral issues can be remedied through traditional orthodontic treatment like braces or Invisalign. But, while orthodontics can successfully align the teeth, sometimes the jaws themselves need to be brought in line through more extensive means. In these cases, after a thorough examination at one of our offices, your orthodontist will let you know if you are a good candidate for orthognathic surgery.
Generally, patients who have tooth misalignment, jaw issues, or facial asymmetry problems that cause difficulty chewing, talking, sleeping, or carrying on routine activities may benefit from orthognathic surgery. Additionally, orthognathic surgery can also correct aesthetic oral issues, for instance: protruding jaws, congenital defects, or unbalanced facial appearance.
Conditions That Can be Treated with Orthognathic Surgery Include:
- Open bite, protruding jaw, or receding chin
- Congenital defects such as a cleft palate
- Malocclusions (bite problems)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or biting food
- Chronic jaw or jaw joint, (TMJ) pain, and headache
- Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or the side
- Inability to make the lips meet without straining
- Chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth
- Facial trauma
The Surgical Process
While every patient's needs are different, there are some commonalities in all orthognathic surgery procedures. The first (and perhaps most important) of which is the careful consultation and planning performed by members of our team beforehand.
Our team might recommend orthodontic treatment combined with surgical procedures to correct your oral issue. Using diagnostic images, 3-D models, and advanced software, we will develop a step-by-step plan for the entire process. (In many cases, it may even be possible to show you a picture of what you'll look like when your treatment is finished.)
The surgery itself may occur at the hospital or in one of our offices. This depends on your comfort and what type of anesthesia is most appropriate for the procedure.
- Since the actual surgery is generally performed inside your mouth, it often leaves no visible traces of a surgical procedure.
- After the surgery you can control minor pain and swelling with over-the-counter or prescription pain medication. A soft food or liquid diet may be recommended for a period of time following the procedure due to sensitivity.
- Following the surgery we will closely monitor your condition and help you through each remaining phase of your orthodontic treatment plan.
- In some cases orthodontic appliances such as braces and retainers will be used before and after the surgical phase of treatment to ensure that you end up with an effective and aesthetically pleasing result.
You & Your Smile
The various orthodontics treatments available at South Texas Orthodontics can treat many oral alignment issues. However, for more severe cases of discord between your teeth and jaws, orthognathic surgery is a great alternative option. When your procedure is complete you can enjoy the benefits of improved functionality and an enhanced appearance, which create positive changes in many aspects of life.
Have questions about what orthodontic treatment options may be right for you? Request an appointment at South Texas Orthodontics and get examined by an orthodontist today!