Surgical orthodontics is using braces to correct the teeth and orthognathic (jaw) surgery to correct severe jaw imbalances to improve the patient’s bite, ability to chew and function, and their facial appearance. In other words, surgical orthodontics is straightening the teeth and the jaw. Dr. Rice will work with an Oral Surgeon to ensure that if you need surgical orthodontics, you receive the best care possible. Dr. Rice’s training and experience with surgical orthodontics has been extension and he is pleased to offer you the most advanced techniques to meet your individual needs.
When might surgical orthodontics be needed?
Surgical orthodontics may be used to treat non-growing patients with improper bites or other facial aesthetic concerns. Pre-surgical tooth movements can begin approximately one year before growth stops so teeth are in their ideal position when jaw growth is complete. Typically, jaw growth stops by age 16 in females and 18 in males. In order to receive orthognathic surgery, the jaw must be done growing. Dr. Rice will evaluate the patient’s skeletal maturation and advise when is the ideal time to start braces so the patient’s teeth are ideally positioned for surgery when jaw growth is complete. The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the jaws do not line up correctly, and a proper bite cannot be achieved with orthodontic treatment alone.
How do I know if I need orthognathic surgery?
Dr. Rice can tell you if orthognathic surgery is needed as part of your treatment. Orthognathic surgical treatment is needed in only the most severe cases. When orthognathic surgery may be needed as part of your orthodontic treatment, Dr. Rice will use your orthodontic records to develop an ideal treatment plan for your unique situation. Dr. Rice will use his advanced imaging software to simulate how orthognathic surgery could improve your profile. Before any treatment begins, we want everyone to understand and agree to the proposed treatment plan. We ask anyone involved in decision making for the patient to attend a surgical consult to see how orthodontics and orthognathic surgery could improve their unique situation. Dr. Rice prefers to inform the family of the treatment options and with the family and patient make the best treatment decision.
How does orthognathic surgery work?
Braces are typically needed for six to eighteen months prior to surgery. An oral surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery, and the surgery will take place in a hospital. Orthognathic surgery can take several hours depending on each individual case. Once the surgery is complete, you will be able to return to school or work within two weeks. Since orthognathic surgery is a major treatment, we recommend that you schedule some time away from work and school during the healing process. After the necessary healing time (usually 4-6 weeks), Dr. Rice will "fine-tune" your bite to ensure the teeth fit together ideally. In most cases, braces are removed within 6 to 9 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to maintain your beautiful new smile.
What are the risks associated with orthognathic surgery?
As with any major medical surgery, there may be certain risks of having orthognathic surgery. The process of orthognathic surgery however is not new, and has been performed for many years in the hospital with very successful and predictable results. If you're concerned about an upcoming treatment with orthognathic surgery, please contact our practice and let us know. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have, and provide you with any additional information. Your comfort is important to us.
What are the rewards of having orthognathic surgery?
For many patients, the most important reward of having orthognathic surgery is achieving a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Whether you need orthodontic treatment to correct a bad bite, malocclusion, or jaw abnormality, orthognathic surgery can help restore your confidence, and leave you smiling with confidence for many years to come.