What Is Surgical Orthodontics?

At Kottemann Orthodontics, we can correct many oral issues with braces, aligners, or other orthodontic appliances. However, we occasionally encounter cases that require more than conventional solutions. Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery or corrective jaw surgery, treats and corrects abnormalities of the facial bones, specifically the jaws and the teeth. These abnormalities can interfere with everyday activities, including the ability to chew and talk properly. They can also cause snoring, sleep apnea, TMJ pain, and headaches.

Corrective jaw surgery with Kottemann Orthodontics can correct these issues and improve the overall appearance of your facial profile when paired with orthodontic treatment. Drs. William, Kraig, and Scott Kottemann, and Dr. Alisha Holt use computerized treatment planning to minimize your treatment time and recovery period and give you the best results. 

The latest advances in orthodontics mean corrective jaw surgery may not even be necessary for some patients! When you schedule a FREE consultation, our team can determine if orthognathic surgery is the correct treatment option for you and your smile. 

Who is a candidate for surgical orthodontics?

Our jaws grow gradually throughout childhood and adolescence; sometimes, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. Injury to the jaw and congenital disabilities can also affect jaw alignment, resulting in several problems that can affect everything from chewing and speech to long-term oral health and appearance. 

Whatever the underlying cause, misalignment can cause functional and aesthetic problems for your smile. In severe cases, orthognathic surgery may be necessary to move the jaw and teeth into the correct positions. Surgical orthodontics can also fix aesthetic concerns with the facial profile or the size and shape of the jaw. 

If you have any of the following symptoms, we recommend scheduling a consultation with Kottemann Orthodontics for an orthodontic evaluation:

  • Difficulty when chewing, biting, or swallowing
  • Problems with your speech
  • Chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • Open bite
  • Protruding jaw
  • Breathing problems
  • Snoring or sleep apnea

These symptoms can exist at birth, be acquired due to hereditary or environmental influences, or result from trauma to the face. Since this type of orthodontic work involves correcting the alignment of your jaw, your teeth may shift at some point as well. This is why we often use braces or clear aligner therapy in conjunction with surgery.

We usually wait until the jaw has stopped growing before determining whether surgery is the appropriate treatment, which generally happens between the ages of 16 and 18. If your jaw growth is complete, your Kottemann orthodontist can evaluate your jaws, teeth, and gums to determine if surgical orthodontics would be the best treatment for your case. 

What to expect from surgical orthodontics

Surgical orthodontics includes a pre- and post-surgical phase. Treatment in both phases will be tailored to your needs and jaw structure. In the pre-surgery phase, we will work towards aligning the teeth and moving them into a more optimal position. We often place braces on the teeth for 12-18 months before surgery to align them in preparation. 

Orthodontic surgery on the upper jaw can shift it backward, forward, upward, and downward, while surgery on the lower jaw will shift the jawbone forward or backward. An oral surgeon will perform the procedure inside the mouth, so there’s no need to worry about visible facial scars. 

Your surgeon will cut the jawbone and move it into the correct position. The surgeon will use small bone plates, screws, wires, and rubber bands to hold the jawbone in the newly aligned position. In some cases, extra bone may be added to the jaw from your hip, leg, or rib, then secured with screws and plates. 

Complete healing can take up to twelve weeks, but there is some initial healing by about six weeks post-surgery. You will need to wait about two weeks before resuming your normal daily activities and can expect to be in braces for 6-12 months after corrective jaw surgery. Depending on the severity of the issue and what adjustments are needed, the process may take many months or even years.

Successful orthognathic surgery can lead to a more balanced facial appearance and improved functionality. Sleeping, eating, and chewing will be easier, and there will often be a noticeable improvement in speech impediments. You’ll even get a boost to your self-esteem!

What Is Surgical Orthodontics?Find your healthiest smile at Kottemann Orthodontics

Here at Kottemann Orthodontics, we offer various treatment options for patients of all ages in Chaska, Maple Grove, Orono, and Plymouth. This includes potential alternatives to surgical orthodontics, like using a palatal expander, Herbst appliance, or Invisalign clear aligners with the mandibular advancement feature. 

If you or your child have trouble eating, breathing, or swallowing or have any outward signs of a misaligned jaw, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a complimentary smile assessment. Our expert team will ensure you are fully informed about the best way to straighten your smile and will be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns.