Surgical orthodontics is combined treatment by an orthodontist and an oral surgeon to correct jaw abnormalities. The need for jaw surgery is determined after the orthodontist clinically assesses the patient, and reviews the X-rays, photos and models which are taken at the records appointment. If the orthodontist’s review of the records supports jaw surgery as the appropriate treatment approach, the findings are thoroughly reviewed with the patient so that an informed and educated decision can be made. It is very common to have one or both of the patient’s parents involved in the decision making process, even if the patient is an adult.
Although the braces can be put on while the patient is still growing, all skeletal growth must be complete before the jaw surgery can be performed. Jaw growth is usually complete by 16 years for girls and 18 years for boys.
Once treatment is initiated, the orthodontist straightens the teeth and guides them in the jawbone in preparation for the oral surgeon. When this phase is completed, the oral surgeon surgically corrects the position of the jaws to fix the bite. The patient will then return to the orthodontist who finishes the treatment. It is important to note that the braces remain on the teeth throughout the entire process. The final outcome results in an improved ability to chew, speak, breathe, and facial esthetics.