When Braces Aren’t Enough

Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a type of orthodontic treatment used to correct severe cases that include bad bites, jaw bone, abnormalities, and malocclusion.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is one of the nine recognized dental specialties, and it focuses on treating complex craniofacial cases that involve the mouth, jaw, face, and skull.

If you need surgical orthodontics, Dr. Ken Dillehay or Dr. J.K. Dillehay will work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to ensure that you receive the best care possible.

When Do I Need Surgical Orthodontics?

Surgical orthodontics is used to treat adults with improper bites or other aesthetic concerns.

Your jaw needs to be done growing before any kind of orthognathic surgery. Typically, jaw growth stops by age 16 in females and 18 in males.

If your jaws don’t line up correctly, and a proper bite cannot be achieved with orthodontic treatment alone, orthognathic surgery can help align your jaw before orthodontic braces are used to move your teeth into the ideal positions.

Your orthodontist can tell you if orthognathic surgery is needed as part of your treatment. Depending on the severity of your case and the alignment of your jaw, you may or may not need surgery.

How Does Orthodontic Surgery Work?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthodontic surgery in a hospital.

Orthognathic surgery can take several hours, depending on each individual case. Once the surgery is complete, you’ll have about a two-week rest period.

Since orthodontic surgery is a major treatment, we recommend scheduling some time away from work and school during the healing process. After your jaw has healed, your orthodontist will once again “fine-tune” your bite.

After surgery, you’ll have to wear braces for 6-12 months. After your braces are removed, you’ll wear a retainer to help maintain your new smile.

Risks and Rewards

While there are risks associated with orthognathic surgery, just like any major surgery, it has been performed for many years in practices and hospitals.

If you’re concerned about an upcoming surgery, please contact our practice and let us know. We’re happy to answer any questions that you may have.

For many patients, the most important reward of surgical orthodontics is a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

Whether you need orthodontic treatment to correct a bad bite, malocclusion, or jaw abnormality, orthognathic surgery can help restore your confidence and leave you smiling with confidence for many years to come.