Corrective jaw surgery is used to treat those patients with discrepancies that are not correctable with conventional orthodontics alone. Causitive factors include, but are not limited to, inherited characteristics such as inadequate or excessive developmental skeletal growth of the jaws and bones of the face. While orthodontics address many skeletal issues without orthognathic surgery, there are those patients who lack ample jaw growth to remedy their more difficult jaw and bite imbalances without surgical intervention.
Optimal treatment for the surgical case involves a coordinated team effort between your dentist, orthodontist, and oral surgeon. The usual sequence of treatment is as follows:
Diagnostic records consist of models of the teeth, radiographs of the jaws and teeth, and photographs. These are reviewed by the orthodontist and the oral surgeon. The team of doctors will develop a treatment plan that provides optimal facial balance and dental stability. Pre-surgical orthodontics involves a comprehensive approach (upper and lower braces) to level and align the teeth in their respective jaws. This may take 9-18 months.
Once the teeth are in their proper pre-surgical positions, surgery will be scheduled. The surgery is performed in the hospital and the typical stay is two days and one night. The surgical procedure is performed with the braces on the teeth so the surgeon may attach elastics or other anchorage type devices for post-surgical stability. The surgeon's office authorizes insurance for their fees which are usually billed under your major medical coverage.
After approximately two months of jaw healing, post-surgical orthodontics is used to detail the positions of the teeth and finalize the bite. This usually takes 6-12 months. Once complete, the braces are removed and retainers are placed.