The goal of surgical orthodontics is to correct irregularities in the jaws. It can improve our patients’ ability to chew, speak, and breathe. It can also correct facial imbalance, providing a better facial appearance.
How do you know if you require surgery? You don’t—not until you see an orthodontist. That evaluation will determine whether or not surgery is required or if another form of treatment should be considered first.
Some conditions that, if severe enough, are treated with surgery include the following:
- Misalignment of the jaws, causing difficulty with chewing and biting
- Struggling to swallow food and drink
- Chronic pain in the jaw, jaw joints, or persistent headaches
- Teeth that are wearing down at an excessive rate
- A gap between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed
- Unbalanced facial features
- A receding or protruding jaw
- Struggling to make the lips meet
- Chronic mouth breathing
- The presence of sleep apnea
Dr. Aliu will be able to determine if surgery is needed during your initial consultation. She prefers to opt for alternative treatments first and considers surgery a last resort. However, if it is clear that surgery is necessary, she will schedule your visit with the surgeon as soon as it is possible and you feel comfortable. Surgery is not a possibility for those who are not done growing. In general, this means females who are 16 or older and males who are 18 and older.
These surgeries will be performed by a specialty surgeon, one whom Dr. Aliu has a great working relationship with and whom she trusts. After you have healed from the surgery, you will come back to Dr. Aliu for your final evaluation and any fine-tuning that is needed.
- difficulty chewing, or biting food
- difficulty swallowing
- chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headache
- excessive wear of the teeth
- open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
- unbalanced facial appearance from the front, or side
- facial injury or birth defects
- receding chin
- protruding jaw
- inability to make the lips meet without straining
- chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth
- sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring)
During your initial consultation, Dr. Aliu will notify you if you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery. In order to receive orthognathic surgery, the jaw must be done growing, which is usually about age 16 for females and 18 in males.
An Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, usually performs the surgery. Shortly after most patients can return to regular daily activities. After Post Surgery healing, the patient returns back to Dr. Aliu for final evaluation and ‘fine tuning’ of the bite, braces would be removed afterwards once all final alignments have been achieved.
Correcting a Receding Lower Jaw or “Weak Chin”: The bone in the lower portion of the jaw is separated from its base and modified. The tooth-bearing portion of the lower jaw and a portion of the chin are repositioned forward.