Garrick F. Wong DMD Orthodontics provides surgical orthodontic services to patients in Cos Cob and throughout Greenwich, CT. Call 203-625-9888 to learn more and schedule your appointment.
Most of the time, orthodontists can treat patients with common orthodontic appliances, such as braces, Invisalign, retainers, and the like. Occasionally, though, there are more severe cases that require a more in-depth procedure.
Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, most often involves an orthodontist and an oral surgeon. This surgery is needed when jaw irregularities cannot be corrected with traditional orthodontic devices. With surgical orthodontics, we can improve the appearance of the face and the patient’s ability to chew, speak, and breathe properly.
Children rarely need orthognathic surgery because we can accomplish the same goals by influencing the growth of the jaw as it develops. Because an adult’s jaws are fully formed, often the only way to correct problems with the bite or facial aesthetics are through surgical orthodontics.
Treatment starts with braces or Invisalign, which move the teeth prior to surgery. Dr. Wong works with an oral surgeon to plan treatment, then surgery repositions the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both, sometimes removing or augmenting the bone in the process. After surgery, orthodontic treatment continues for up to another year to fine-tune the teeth and bite.
Benefits of Orthognathic Surgery
There are many benefits for the patient when it comes to surgical orthodontics. Here are a few of the most common:
- Improved facial aesthetics - which can, in turn, result in a boost of confidence
- Better oral health
- Reduction in symptoms of misaligned jaw, such as headaches or pain when chewing
- Overall increased quality of life
Being able to move your jaw easily - and painlessly - can greatly impact one’s life. And, even though it is scary to consider going through with orthodontic surgery, you have a dental team you can trust - and you will reap all these benefits and more once you are healed.
Orthodontic Surgery: What to Expect
It is normal to feel nervous when you are told you need orthodontic surgery. But knowing that you have a trusted team of dental professionals on your side should help you relax. A thorough examination, including imaging, should be done so that everyone is on the same page. Then, a treatment plan will be drawn up. You will have all the information you need to make sure you are making the best choice for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Interdisciplinary Dental Teams and Surgical Orthodontics
What is an interdisciplinary dental team?
Interdisciplinary dentistry involves the use of more than one type of dentistry. For instance, in our situation, we have an orthodontist working with an oral surgeon. Working together as a team can benefit the patient greatly - and is especially important when it comes to complex cases.
Is it possible for me to meet with all of the dental specialists involved in my treatment at the same time?
It’s rare for us to be able to coordinate an in-person meeting with multiple specialists, but we can often coordinate a call or video conference if needed. This way you can feel confident that everyone is working to achieve the same goal.
Does insurance cover surgical orthodontics?
When surgical orthodontic treatment is medically necessary, it’s usually covered by medical insurance; any orthodontic treatment required for the surgical orthodontics is covered by dental insurance, or sometimes even both. If you’re undergoing surgical orthodontic treatment for aesthetic reasons only, it is not covered by insurance.
What type of jaw irregularities require orthognathic surgery?
Most often, orthognathic surgery is required when the jaw and teeth don’t meet as they should - and when traditional orthodontic devices are not benefiting the patient. These jaw irregularities can include overbites, underbites, open bites, TMJ disorder, sleep apnea, facial injuries, difficulty biting and chewing, and more.
Who is a candidate for surgical orthodontics?
Not everyone is a candidate for surgical orthodontics. In order to go through with jaw surgery, your jaw must be finished growing. This means that, ideally, patients will be in at least their late teens before undergoing such surgery.
It is important to note that the necessity of this surgery is left up to the discretion of the dental professional.
What is reverse orthodontics?
The first phase of treatment in surgical orthodontics is moving the teeth with braces. Your teeth are moved to where they should be located after your jaw surgery—in other words, they will look more misaligned in the first phase of treatment, but after your surgery, your teeth will be better aligned. Then, Dr. Wong will refine the positions of your teeth based on the new position of your jaw.
What can you do for impacted canine teeth?
When canine teeth are impacted, an oral surgeon or periodontist can perform a simple procedure to expose them. Then, Dr. Wong can affix brackets to the teeth and gently pull them into alignment.
How long does recovery take after orthodontic jaw surgery?
Jaw surgery is a little more invasive than your typical oral surgery - especially since it has to do with the bone structure of the face. Most patients are healed enough to return to their daily activities in about two weeks. However, it may take 1 to 2 months before it is completely healed.
This timeline is very general as each patient is different.
Call 203-625-9888 to schedule your appointment.