Surgical orthodontics is sometimes needed in patients who have upper and lower jaws that do not line up correctly and a proper bite cannot be achieved with orthodontic treatment alone. Surgical orthodontics is also sometimes used to treat adults with aesthetic concerns about their profile or jaw shape/size. Because surgical orthodontics involves correcting the alignment of your jaw, it will also shift your teeth. For this reason, Dr. Hardy will use braces in combination with your surgical orthodontics treatment.
Are You a Candidate for Surgical Orthodontics?
If you have problems chewing, breathing, and/or speaking as a result of a misaligned jaw or bite you may be a candidate for surgical orthodontics. Patients with concerns about their facial appearance can have a consultation with Dr. Hardy to see what improvements could be made with surgical orthodontics. Surgical orthodontics can’t be performed until jaws are fully developed. Jaw growth is typically complete at age 18 for boys and 16 for girls. A full evaluation with dental x-rays will confirm if you are a candidate for this treatment.
What to Expect with Orthodontic Surgery
Before jaw surgery, there is typically a pre-surgical phase where your teeth are aligned and moved into an ideal position. Then there is a post-surgical phase where the bite treatment occurs, shifting your teeth again. Each case is different so all orthodontic surgery procedures and timelines will vary. An oral surgeon will be involved in the actual surgery of your upper and/or lower jaw.
Orthodontic surgery on your upper jaw can involve shifting it backward, forward, upward, and downward. For lower jaw surgery, the surgeon can move your jawbone forward or backward. Scheduling a consult with Dr. Hardy to find out which treatment is best for you during the pre-surgical and post-surgical phases will help keep you informed on your care and prepared to make sound treatment decisions.
Typically, you will need to wait at least two weeks after surgery before resuming your normal activities, but following the instructions of your oral surgeon for your specific case is essential. A follow-up visit with Dr. Hardy will occur approximately one month after your surgical orthodontics procedure for an evaluation. Most patients can expect that they will be in braces 6-12 months following their surgical orthodontics procedure. Dr. Hardy will check the progress of your smile and jaw alignment with regularly scheduled appointments.
Preventing the Need for Surgical Orthodontics
One of the reasons that the American Association of Orthodontics encourages children to have their first orthodontic evaluation between the ages of 7 or 8 is to help prevent the need for invasive or drastic treatment measures later. Early prevention orthodontic treatment for jaw abnormalities when your child is young can prevent the need for surgery later in life. Some orthodontic issues relating to the jaw can be fixed more easily when the jaw is still growing.
Schedule a Consultation for Surgical Orthodontics
Please contact Belmar Orthodontics at 303.225.9016 to schedule a surgical orthodontics consultation. The more information you have, the more prepared you will be for making this important step in your oral health. Our doctors and friendly staff are ready to help you every step of the way!