Surgical orthodontics or orthognathic surgery corrects the shape of the jaws to improve a patient’s ability to chew, speak, and breathe. It also improves facial appearance. Moving the jaw moves the teeth, so braces are always used in conjunction with jaw surgery.
Dr. Petrick will consider surgical orthodontic treatment for non-growing patients with improper bites and/or facial aesthetic concerns that are related to the jaw shape and cannot be successfully corrected with orthodontics alone. Jaw surgery is usually not performed until all jaw growth is completed. However, the pre-surgical orthodontic tooth movements often begin one to two years prior to the completion of jaw growth.
During pre-surgical orthodontic treatment, which usually lasts 6-18 months, braces move teeth into the correct position in the jaws. Sometimes the bite looks worse rather than better before the surgery. When the jaws are placed into proper alignment during the surgery, the teeth will close to their correct position.
Orthognathic surgery is performed in a hospital by an oral surgeon. Either the upper or lower jaw, or both, may be reshaped or repositioned. After surgery, patients usually return to work or school in one to two weeks. After surgery, Dr. Petrick finishes the correction of the teeth. Braces are usually removed 6-12 months after jaw surgery.