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Home > Blog > Beyond Braces: Surgical Orthodontics

Beyond Braces: Surgical Orthodontics

August 1, 2016

Quite a few people have teeth that appear to be misaligned. They’re surprised to find out that their teeth aren’t the problem. The bone underneath is the cause.

Facial and/or jaw bone that’s too thin or too thick is very common and affects how your teeth come together. Braces can correct some of the misalignment that comes from malformation, but orthodontic (oral) surgery is the preferred option for bone malformation.

Conditions that look like misaligned teeth but are due to underlying bone issues include:

Protruding lower jaw
This makes you look as if you have an underbite. Some underbites can be treated with traditional or clear braces. A underbite due to a protruding lower jaw is better corrected through oral surgery.

Open bite
This happens when your teeth don’t touch fully when you close your mouth. There’s a gap between your lower and upper teeth. Again, some open bites can be corrected through orthodontic treatment, but orthodontic surgery may be indicated.

Weak chin
When a person’s lower chin appears to recede, this is commonly known as a weak chin. The result appears to be an overbite. Just as with an underbite due to a protruding lower jaw, surgery is the preferred option.

Other issues that can be addressed through surgery are temporomandibular joint disorder, known as either TMD or TMJ. TMD/TMJ can cause symptoms like clicking or popping when you move your mouth, headaches, “phantom” tooth pain, earaches, headaches, and shoulder or muscle aches. For more information on this disorder, please visit our TMJ/Teeth Grinding Treatment page.

Sleep apnea is another condition where surgery may be an option. Sleep apnea causes disturbed, non-restful sleep because the airway is obstructed. Loud snoring, tossing and turning, and even stopping breathing for short periods are some of the symptoms.

How to Know When Surgical Orthodontics are Needed

Digital X-rays and CAT scans will reveal the shape and thickness of your underlying bone. From those, Drs. Schmidt and Surber will determine the cause of your overbite, underbite, open bite, or other issue. They’ll also determine whether it will respond best to traditional braces, Invisalign® treatment, or oral surgery. In some cases, a combination of methods is needed.

Common Misconceptions About Oral Surgery

Surgery as a whole is typically performed through your skin. When the skin heals it leaves a visible scar. That’s the exception rather than the rule with oral surgery.

Orthodontic surgery is usually performed inside the mouth. That means no visible scarring, no social embarrassment, and no self-consciousness. In fact, once your particular condition is corrected, you’ll almost certainly feel a boost to your self-confidence.

Our Surgical Approach

Our entire practice is dedicated to helping you get your best smile and your healthiest mouth. We’ll recommend the approach that will work best for you. When that approach is orthodontic surgery, we call in an oral surgeon to consult. Together, Drs. Surber, Schmidt, and the surgeon will map out the most effective way to correct the underlying issue.

Surgery will correct the thickness, the curvature of your jaw, or any malformation. With a properly aligned foundation, your teeth will be aligned properly.

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontic Surgery

Will it hurt?
This type of surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia. You won’t be awake or aware during the procedure. As with any operation, there will be some post-surgical pain which can be managed by painkillers.

Will people be able to tell I’ve had surgery?
That depends on how extensive the corrections need to be. In the case of overbite or underbite caused by underlying bone issues, there will be likely be some realignment of your jaws. Drs. Schmidt and Surber work closely with your surgeon to ensure that the final result is pleasing. Most people who have orthodontic surgery are very pleased with the result.

What happens when surgery is complete?
Your needs are unique, and so is the solution to meet those needs. No two surgical cases are identical. Our doctors and your surgeon will discuss all the steps involved and what you can expect every step of the way. We want you to be as comfortable as possible before, during, and after.

Orthodontic Associates Cares

Living with misaligned teeth can be a miserable experience. Our practice is committed to helping patients eat without discomfort and smile without embarrassment.

Don’t live with misaligned teeth any longer. Call us today at 888-722-5033 to schedule your appointment. We’ll be happy to arrange the day and time that works best for you. Together, we’ll find the best treatment for your needs.

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