Post by: / May 15, 2016

My Orthodontist Says I Need Surgery – Do I Really Need It?

If you are in the market for a straight, perfectly aligned smile, it’s likely you have been to the orthodontist to evaluate your options. (If you haven’t, it’s a good place to start.)

Orthodontists might recommend several different options, depending on the issue at hand. Braces, for one, are suitable for many people and can solve several different types of issues, but there are some things braces can’t do on their own. The size and shape of your teeth and jaws factor in to the treatment plant that will be best suited for you. Sometimes we can line the teeth up by just using braces, other times we may need to incorporate extractions or orthognathic surgery.

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The jaws can grow in several different directions; not all directions are good. Evaluating children starting at age 7 gives us the best chance at preventing complications leading us into a surgical approach in the future. The reason for this is that kids are more flexible because we can guide their growth in the proper direction. Without growth and with more solid bones, adults do not have as many options for correction. Fortunately, there is a fix for everyone, it just depends on what your particular issue is. That being said, not all adults need jaw surgery!
If jaw surgery is recommended for you, it is likely because the teeth are not your main problem; your jaws are. In these cases, we are dealing with a skeletal issue, not only a dental issue. It is important to get the teeth fitting together in their most ideal position so that they do not wear down in the wrong places and so that they support each other and prevent dental relapse upon completion of orthodontic treatment.

Jaw surgery usually makes people turn and run in the opposite direction. “Surgery” is a scary word. What is important to know is that orthognathic surgery, or jaw surgery is usually quite straight forward. At South Surrey Smiles, we work with Certified Specialists in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; rest assured, you will be in the best hands. Orthognathic surgery is always done in conjunction with braces. At South Surrey Smiles, the average treatment time for a surgical treatment plan is 2 years, the surgery happens midway through treatment. Typically, our surgical patients will wear braces for 1 year, have surgery, and then have 1 more year in braces. The braces are not removed for surgery; the patient goes into surgery wearing braces.

Orthognathic surgery is done in the hospital and sometimes requires a 1 night stay. You can expect some swelling and eating soft foods for a few days. It is usually recommended to take 2 weeks off work or school and 3 months off from contact sports. The good news is; Orthognathic Surgery does not require you to have your jaw wired shut! Technology and techniques have come a long way.

If you are completely against a surgical approach, there are often compromised treatment plans that will still be available for you. You may not reach absolute perfection, but significant improvements can often still be achieved. Before making your decision about orthodontics and/or orthognathic surgery, it is important to visit a Certified Specialist in Orthodontics to properly diagnose your malocclusion. If in fact, jaw surgery is recommended, it is best that you educate yourself on why and what might happen if you leave the issue untreated.

If you are interested in finding out if you are set up to keep your teeth for the rest of your life, come visit South Surrey Smiles for a free consultation. We will be happy to educate you on the health of your teeth and functionality of your bite at no charge. Again, we love to see kids starting at age 7. Often times nothing is required at that early age but there are times where you may have a future complication that can be easily avoided. Call us today to book you and your family in at South Surrey Smiles, your local Orthodontic Specialists. Like us on Facebook to stay up to date with our current promotions!