When most of us think of orthodontics, we think of braces and aligners used to straighten teeth. Although those may be the most common types of orthodontic treatments, surgical orthodontics also plays an important role for people with specific types of jaw problems.
As a leading orthodontic specialist in Cedar Park, Texas, Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, uses state-of-the-art surgical orthodontics treatments to help patients at Freedom Orthodontics improve jaw function, bite function, and facial aesthetics. Here’s how surgical orthodontics works and three of the most common problems it can correct.
Surgical orthodontics vs. traditional orthodontics
Traditional orthodontic treatment, like braces or aligners, can dramatically improve your bite mechanics and smile aesthetics. During treatment, orthodontic appliances shift the positions of your teeth for improved alignment and function.
Still, while these treatments are effective for plenty of teens and adults, they’re not designed to correct problems with the position or mechanics of your jaw structure. That’s when surgical orthodontics can help.
Also called orthognathic surgery, surgical orthodontics focuses on fixing jaw abnormalities and irregularities that affect the way your jaws work. Correcting the position of your jaws may also improve the contours of your face.
Benefits of surgical orthodontics
Surgical orthodontics uses advanced technology to address a number of jaw-related issues, including the three relatively common problems listed here.
1. Abnormal bite mechanics
While braces and aligners can correct many bite problems, they can’t correct some more severe issues, like significant overbites, underbites, or open bites. That’s because if your jaws themselves are misaligned, simply repositioning your teeth won’t correct the underlying cause.
In these instances, Dr. Smith uses surgical orthodontics to reposition your jaws so your upper and lower rows of teeth (arches) are properly positioned relative to each other. Once your jaws are repositioned, orthodontic treatment can be applied to straighten your tooth alignment problems for beautiful results.
2. Facial asymmetry
Jaw problems don’t just affect the way your jaw functions — they can affect the way your face looks too. A deeply receding upper jaw, receding chin, protruding jaw, or severe bite problem can cause dramatic cosmetic changes that take a toll on your confidence.
Many asymmetry issues develop as your facial bones grow, but some problems are caused by traumatic injuries or congenital defects. In any case, surgical orthodontics can reposition your jaw and restore your appearance and jaw function.
3. Problems with speech or breathing
Open-mouthed breathing, sleep apnea, and difficulties with speech or swallowing can all be caused by jaw problems. When your jaw is malpositioned or the symmetry of your jaws is uneven, it can affect the way you breathe, eat, or talk. A poorly positioned jaw can also lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), along with chronic jaw pain or jaw locking.
Some mild issues can be treated nonsurgically with devices or traditional orthodontics. But when conservative approaches don’t work or jaw position problems are the obvious cause, orthognathic surgery can be a good choice for correcting your symptoms at their source.
The right treatment for your needs
Whether you need surgical orthodontics or traditional treatment, Dr. Smith can help. To learn more about all the orthodontic treatment options that can help you look and feel your best, call Freedom Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.