Our dental health is important, but all the brushing and flossing in the world cannot correct problems with the shape, spacing, and alignment of the teeth and jaws. Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that seeks to develop and administer effective treatments for chronic dental and maxillofacial (concerning the upper jaw and face) issues, and thought common orthodontic treatments such as retainers and braces may effectively correct minor misalignments, some individuals require further intervention. If you experience any issues with the structure of your mouth that braces, expanders, rubber bands, and retainers have been unable to fix, read on to find out whether you may benefit from surgical orthodontics.
Surgical Orthodontics Can Treat a Range of Conditions.
Surgical orthodontics is a type of specialized dental treatment. It is performed by orthodontists and not traditional dental practitioners. The purpose of surgical orthodontics is to diagnose and correct several types of conditions. Some conditions may be as simple as a bad bite, but other conditions may be more serious, and your orthodontist may need to partner with an oral or maxillofacial surgeon. Common treatments that fall under the umbrella of surgical orthodontics include mandibular advancement, mandibular setback, maxillary advancement, maxillary setback, correction of an open bite, correction of a gummy smile, and chin advancement. Of course, this is not a complete list of treatments that fall under surgical orthodontics.
Children Are Not Good Candidates for Orthodontic Surgery.
Usually, surgical orthodontics do not begin until an individual is between the ages of 16 and 18 years old. Of course, it can also be used for older patients. In girls, the jaw usually stops growing around the time that they are 16 years old. In boys, the jaw does not stop growing until they are around 18 years old. The reason why surgical orthodontic treatment does not occur until this age (or later) is because the goal of the surgery is to align the jaws (which create the patient’s bite). If the jaws are still growing, performing surgical orthodontics would not be able to achieve its stated purpose. After surgery, the jaw would still grow, and that could cause a misalignment.
The Most Common Surgical Orthodontic Procedures Deal with the Jaws.
Surgical orthodontics is only used when braces and other dental appliances cannot completely fix the bite on their own. In a mandibular advancement procedure, which is used to correct an underdeveloped lower jaw, incisions are made so that the jaws can be properly aligned. Treatment for a similar condition, mandibular setback, seeks to align the jaws to correct your bite means that the upper jaw is underdeveloped, causing an underbite. Maxillary advancement creates a form of underbite known as a crossbite. The incisions for this condition is usually made in the mouth on the upper jaw near where it would line up with the eye sockets. Maxillary setback creates a form of overbite that is known as an overjet, which is caused by the fact that the lower jaw simply did not grow enough. The objective of surgical orthodontics is to correct the space between the front and back teeth when you bite down. Bone from the upper jaw is removed and placed higher to help correct the problem. The lower jaw is repositioned as well.
Orthodontic Surgery Can Also Serve Cosmetic Purposes.
In a gummy smile, there is a larger amount of gum than normal that is displayed when a person smiles. For procedures to treat this condition, a portion of the upper jaw bone may be moved and placed higher to pull the gums up and lessen the amount of gum that is displayed when you smile. Chin advancement is used for patients who have weak jawlines, and this procedure can also be used to help fix the bite of the patient.
There Is a Lengthy, Individualized Planning Process Before Treatment Begins…
The first step in surgical orthodontics is to develop a treatment plan with your orthodontist. The orthodontist and your oral surgeon will work together to develop a plan that will best suit your specific needs. This could include setting up plaster or 3D models of your mouth, jaw, and entire face. Other specialists, including an ENT and speech therapist, may also be part of the treatment plan depending on the severity of the dental condition being treated. Usually, the second part of treatment is the use of braces, which help to create reference points for the oral surgeons to be able to do their jobs. Next, one or more surgeries will take place to correct the dental issue or issues being treated.
…But the Procedures Tend to Follow the Same General Pattern.
In orthodontic surgery, cuts are made inside of the mouth, rather than through the skin. This type of surgery is performed under general anesthesia. It may or may not take place in a hospital. Many oral surgeons have their own facility that is approved to offer these treatments. The bones that are repositioned will be reinforced with titanium, which remains inside of the body. There is usually no need for a second procedure to remove the titanium.
Our office has years of experience in devising practical solutions to widespread orthodontic problems, and we have succeeded in bringing many a patient’s smile to full health and functionality. The surgical aspect of orthodontics may appear intimidating for some, but we have the background and skill to ensure that every surgery is painless and effective in treating all orthodontic issues. To learn more about surgical orthodontics and determine if there is a treatment available for your needs, give our office a call today to schedule a consultation.