About Jaw Surgery

Surgical orthodontics is a form of orthodontic treatment used to correct very severe cases that include bad bites due to jaw bone abnormalities, usually in non-growing patients. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a dental specialty that focuses on treating complex craniofacial cases that involve the mouth, jaw, face, and skull. If orthognathic surgery is indicated for you in conjunction with orthodontics, Dr. Sperber and Dr. Simone will work together with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to plan your treatment and execute the plan so that you receive the best care possible.

When might surgical orthodontics be needed?
Surgical orthodontics is usually used to treat adults with improper bites or other aesthetic concerns that are related to the jaw bones and beyond the scope of conventional orthodontics. Some examples include a very protrusive lower jaw causing an underbite, or an open bite where the teeth cannot meet and chew properly. Typically, jaw growth stops by age 16 in females and 19 in males. For a patient to proceed with orthognathic surgery, the jaws must have finished growing.

How does orthognathic surgery work?
Treatment starts with placement of the braces, until the objectives of the presurgical orthodontics have been met. At that point, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery in a hospital. Braces stay on for the surgery, and they play an integral role during and after the surgery. Orthognathic surgery can take several hours depending on each individual case. After the surgery has been done, you will have about a two to four-week recovery period. Since orthognathic surgery is a major treatment, we recommend that you schedule some time away from work and school during the healing process. After your jaw has healed, your orthodontist will adjust your braces to “fine-tune” your bite. Elastics from the upper to the lower braces are typically worn during this period. In most cases the braces are removed within six to 12 months following surgery.

What are the risks associated with orthognathic surgery?
As with any major medical procedure, there may be certain risks of having orthognathic surgery. These will be outlined to you in detail when you meet your surgeon for your initial consultation. The process of orthognathic surgery is not new, and it has been refined and improved over the years to make it easier, more predictable, and more comfortable. If you’re concerned about orthognathic surgery, please contact us so that we may answer any questions that you may have. Your comfort is important to us.