Surgical orthodontics is when you need surgery as part of your orthodontic treatment. The most common type of orthodontic surgery is corrective jaw or orthognathic surgery. This procedure is designed to address deformities with your jaw bone. It can help improve chewing, speaking, and breathing, and in many cases, it’s an essential part of the orthodontic treatment process.
Surgical Orthodontics for Open Bites
Surgical orthodontics can help people with a range of dentofacial deformities such as open bites. That’s when your bite doesn’t fit together. Essentially, you close your mouth, but there’s still an opening between your upper and lower teeth. To address this issue, the oral surgeon removes some of your upper jaw bone and then secures the teeth into place with plates and screws. This is usually followed by braces.
Surgical Orthodontics for Protruding Lower Jaws
People with this particular issue have a lower jaw that juts out significantly further than their upper jaw. To fix this issue through oral surgery, the dentist separates the front part of the jaw from the back part. Then, the surgeon, along with the orthodontist, modifies the position of the lower jawbone that has teeth so that it’s aligned with the upper jaw bone.
Surgical Orthodontics for Lower Jaw Issues
Also called weak chin, this condition is essentially the opposite of a protruding jaw. Essentially, your lower jaw bone is positioned further back from your upper jaw bone. In the surgery, the part of the lower jaw that has teeth is moved forward. This helps to reposition the chin so that it aligns with the upper jaw.
Preparing for Orthodontic Surgery
Your oral surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for this procedure, but here are some general instructions to keep in mind. Typically, if you are going under general anesthesia, you can’t eat or drink for 12 hours before the procedure. If you are only having local anesthesia, you may only need to fast for an hour or two.
Ideally, you should not smoke or drink before the operation either. Alcohol is a blood thinner, and if there is alcohol in your system, your blood may not clot as needed for healing. Tobacco products can also slow the healing process.
What to Expect After Surgery
If you go under general anesthesia, you will need someone to drive you home. It takes a while for the anesthesia to wear off. Even with local anesthesia, you may want someone to help you. Your mouth may be tender after the procedure, and you may just want to take some pain medication and rest rather than driving yourself around.
Recovering After Surgery
In many cases, patients take a couple of weeks off school or work during their recovery. Your surgeon can let you know if you need that much time off. In any case, you should stock up on soft foods. You won’t be able to chew hard or crunchy things after the operation.
If you want to learn more about surgical orthodontics, contact FUNtastic Pediatric Dental today. We are a pediatric dentist located in Long Beach, CA. Whether you need orthodontic surgery or another procedure, we focus on providing our patients with a pain-free anxiety-free environment.