Surgical Orthodontics is the collaboration of an orthodontist with an Oral and Maxilo-Facial Surgeon to help correct more complicated dental issues.
Some individuals may have stuck or impacted teeth that prevent other teeth from erupting into the proper position.
In other situations, an underlying jaw problem leads to severe bite issues that cannot be corrected with orthodontic treatment alone. Abnormal bite issues can lead to several complications such as:
- Inability to chew and eat properly
- Concerns regarding facial appearance
- Speech problems
- Facial dysfunction from gum issues and joint pain
- Sleep apnea
Orthodontics Sometimes Means Collaboration With Oral Surgeons
Certain scenarios require a combination of orthodontic treatment and surgical treatment to reach the desired outcome. In these situations, accurate assessment and effective collaboration are critical. This is called orthognathic treatment.
A comprehensive orthodontic evaluation will confirm whether orthognathic treatment is necessary. When orthognathic treatment is required, it is typically performed when the jaw and face have mostly stopped growing. Generally, this is around age 16 for women and 18 for men.
Once a patient is ready for treatment, the pre-surgical orthodontic phase begins where the teeth are moved into the proper position. This can take up to 18 months or longer in, particularly in complicated cases.
Once the teeth are in an optimal position for surgery, the orthodontist and surgeon will work closely as a team to determine the surgical portion of treatment. Once the surgeon is satisfied with the new bite, the final phase of orthodontic treatment occurs, generally lasting up to six months.
How an Abnormal Bite Can Effect Aesthetics and Functionality
Having an abnormal bite changes the way teeth fit together and can lead to a variety of issues such as:
- Chipped or damaged teeth
- Loose or lost teeth
- Prematurely worn restorations
- Jaw pain and tension
- Tooth grinding
- Speech problems
An improper bite can also affect your appearance in several ways:
- An underbite (prominent lower teeth), which occurs when the lower jaw juts in front of the upper jaw
- A midline discrepancy, which means the midline of the teeth does not properly align with the nose
- An increased overjet (protruding top teeth), which occurs when the upper jaw juts out over the lower jaw, obstructing some or all over the lower teeth
- Crossbite, which can lead to asymmetry in the facial features
- Open bite, which can prevent the mouth from closing fully and lead to issues when chewing
While there are many options for orthodontic treatment, surgery is sometimes necessary to correct bite issues. While oral surgery may sound intimidating, in many cases it is relatively straightforward and routine.
Is Oral Surgery Right for Me?
A thorough assessment by your orthodontist is the only way to know if surgery is necessary and if you are a good candidate for it. Jaw discrepancies that are only correctable by surgery are relatively rare.
In some cases, alternative therapies may be an option. Regardless of the situation, we will clearly walk you through all options so you can make the best decision for your needs.
Is Oral Surgery Covered by Insurance?
The cost of oral surgery depends entirely on the situation and the degree of complication. Some private health insurers may cover a portion of the costs, but it is key to check with your insurance company first before scheduling your surgery.
How Is Oral Surgery Regulated?
The surgical procedures are carried out by dentists who have also completed a degree in Medicine. These specialised professionals are registered with The Dental Board of Australia and are known as Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgeons.
Expectations After Oral Surgery?
After surgery, you will be provided with clear aftercare instructions. Most individuals recover without any complications. It is important to rest until the effects of the anesthesia have completely worn off. You will also have to follow the recommended measures until the surgical site is fully healed.
We Are Always Here For Our Patients
Many patients are understandably concerned when they discover they require oral surgery. We are here to help ease any concerns you have and answer all your questions. Please feel free to contact us today if you would like to learn more about oral surgery or schedule a consultation.