Combined Orthodontic / Jaw Corrective (Orthognathic) Surgery Treatment
In some instances, a patient’s malocclusion (bad bite) is so severe, the best option for correction is the surgical repositioning of the underlying jaw bones. This is known as orthognathic surgery. Treatment of this type requires experienced and detailed coordination between the Orthodontist and an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. The treatment occurs in three phases:
- Pre-surgery orthodontics- The goals of this phase are to align the upper and lower teeth irrespective of one another. While the patient’s bite will still be off, the teeth are now straight and ready to be put together by the surgeon. This phase can last from 6 to 12 months depending upon the severity of the problem.
- Surgery phase- At this stage the patient will undergo a procedure to surgically reposition either the upper or lower jaw bone, or both, to correct the bite. The orthodontic appliances remain in position during this phase to help the surgeon position the jaw bones. A period of 4 to 6 weeks of post-surgery recovery follows the procedure prior to returning to the orthodontist.
- Post-surgery orthodontics- At this point in the treatment the jaw bones should be in their proper positions, but the teeth may need minor adjustment to finalize the proper bite. This phase can last from 4 to 6 months to correct minor alignment and cosmetic issues following the jaw corrective surgery.
Jaw corrective surgery patients can be some of the most difficult cases to treat. However, Dr. Weaver gained the experience and know-how from treating several hundred of these types of cases.