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Surgical Orthodontics


Surgical Orthodontics is an option for treatment when the bite problem or skeletal discrepancy is so severe that orthodontic treatment is not enough to correct the problem, or where orthodontics alone would leave you with a compromised facial appearance. Orthognathic surgery, or orthodontic treatment in combination with jaw surgery, can be used.

Severe malocclusion (or a bad bite) may cause functional problems, such as inability to chew food properly, speech difficulties, and facial dysfunction characterized by headaches, joint pain, and periodontal problems. Furthermore, there are often self-esteem issues related to the physical appearance relative to the jaw discrepancy. Orthognathic surgery can also be an important part of the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

Surgical Orthodontics is a team effort that involves interdisciplinary planning in collaboration with Drs. Bridgham and Barr, your dentist, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and you. After the treatment plan is determined and accepted, pre-surgical orthodontics will move your teeth to a position so they will fit together properly when the jaws are re-positioned with surgery. Since the teeth are generally starting in a “compensated” position, you may feel your bite is getting worse during this phase of treatment. However, when the surgeon realigns your jaws into a harmonious balance, the teeth will fit together properly. After the procedure, the initial healing phase will take approximately 6 weeks, but completion of the healing process will take 9 to 12 months. After surgery, some fine tuning of your bite with braces or Invisalign will be necessary prior to completion of treatment with regular orthodontic checks. The post-surgical phase of orthodontic treatment usually begins 4-8 weeks after the surgical procedure and typically lasts 2-6 months.

While surgery may be the best option to achieve optimal functional and cosmetic results, it is always an elective procedure. Other treatment options will be presented to you at the consultation appointment. At this visit, we will discuss:
• Overall diagnosis and analysis of jaw and skeletal discrepancies
• Treatment objectives
• The anticipated treatment sequence and time
• Treatment options along with their relative risks and benefits

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