When most people think of orthodontics, they think of braces and invisible aligners. But orthodontics also involves more complex treatments, like orthodontic surgery, to improve the shape and function of your jaw.
Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, is a leading provider of orthodontic surgery, also called orthognathic surgery or surgical orthodontics. Dr. Smith helps patients at Freedom Orthodontics in Cedar Park, Texas, achieve optimal jaw symmetry and function for better oral health and greater self-confidence. Here’s what to expect during your surgery and in the days and weeks afterward.
Surgical orthodontics 101
While braces can achieve optimal tooth and bite alignment in many people, some serious or complex jaw problems require correction before the teeth and bite can be addressed. Surgical orthodontics is designed to correct alignment and symmetry issues that affect the upper jaw, the lower jaw, or both, including overdevelopment and underdevelopment of the jaw bones.
In addition to improving jaw function and appearance, surgical orthodontics is sometimes performed to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Each surgery is customized, depending on the patient’s specific needs. Because the goal of orthognathic surgery is to permanently realign the jaw, it’s only performed on older teens and adults whose jaws have stopped growing.
During and after your surgery
The procedure itself will vary a bit, depending on your needs, your jaw shape, and other factors. Surgery typically is performed in the hospital, using general anesthesia so you can “nap” throughout the procedure.
Dr. Smith begins by making a series of incisions in your jaw bone. These incisions allow him to reposition the bones so your jaw is properly aligned. Once the bones are in their new positions, he secures them using screws or plates.
After your surgery, you’ll be moved to a recovery area for observation for a little while before being discharged home. You can expect some swelling and discomfort, but ice packs and pain medication will help. You’ll probably have some numbness initially that will also help with discomfort.
For most people, the initial part of healing takes about six weeks. During that time, you may be on a diet of soft foods to prevent putting too much stress on the jaw. You’ll want to plan to take a week or two off from work or school so you can rest and heal. Complete healing takes up to a year.
About a month or two after your surgery, Dr. Smith will fit you with braces or Invisalign® aligners. This part of treatment takes a few months to complete, depending on your needs.
The best care for your oral health needs
As a leading orthodontics practice in Cedar Park, Freedom Orthodontics is committed to providing our patients with the customized, state-of-the-art care they need for optimal oral health.
With surgical orthodontics, you can improve the way your jaws look and work, so you can feel more self-confident. To learn more about surgical orthodontics, call our office or request an appointment online today.