Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, is used in conjunction with orthodontics to correct severe cases that include jaw bone abnormalities, restricted airways, facial imbalances, and malocclusions (bad bites). Oral and maxillofacial surgery is one of the nine recognized dental specialties, and it focuses on treating complex craniofacial cases that involve the mouth, jaw, face, and skull. If you need surgical orthodontics, Dr. Baker will complete a full diagnosis utilizing the 6Elements of Orofacial Harmony and will work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to ensure that you receive the highest level of care available. Dr. Baker has proudly been the premier orthodontist treating surgical orthodontic cases for the past 10 years in Portland Oregon, Camas & Vancouver Washington.

When might surgical orthodontics be needed?

Surgical orthodontics is used to treat children and adults with improper bites or other functional or aesthetic concerns. Typically, jaw growth stops by age 16 in females and 18 in males. However, in order to receive orthognathic surgery, in most cases, the jaw bones do not have to be done growing! It used to be thought that surgery could only be done after jaw growth was complete, but the research over the last 20 years has shown this not to be the case. The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the jaws do not line up correctly and a proper bite cannot be achieved with orthodontic treatment alone. Orthognathic surgery will help properly align the jaw while undergoing orthodontic treatment and braces will then be used to move the teeth into their proper position.

How do I know if I need orthognathic surgery?

Depending on the severity of your case and the alignment of your jaw structure, you may or may not need surgery. After a comprehensive diagnosis, Dr. Baker will explain if orthognathic surgery is recommended as part of your treatment.

How does orthognathic surgery work?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery, and the surgery will usually take place in an outpatient surgery center, or sometimes in a hospital. The majority of orthognathic surgerys can take about an hour. Occasionally surgery may take several hours depending on each individual case. Once the surgery is complete, you will have about a two-week rest period. Since orthognathic surgery is a major treatment, we recommend that you schedule some time away from work and school during the healing process. After your jaw has healed, Dr. Baker will once again “fine-tune” your bite. After surgery, most braces are removed within six to 12 months (following surgery). After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to help maintain your new smile.

What are the risks associated with orthognathic surgery?

As with any major medical surgery, there may be certain risks of having orthognathic surgery. However, the process of orthognathic surgery is not new, and it has been performed for decades in practices and hospitals. If you're concerned about an upcoming treatment with orthognathic surgery, please contact our practice and let us know. Dr. Baker is the leading orthodontist in the entire NW that has a high level of training and experience with orthognathic surgery. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have, and provide you with any additional information. Your comfort and understanding of your diagnosis and procedures are important to us.

What are the rewards of having orthognathic surgery?

For many patients, the most important reward of having orthognathic surgery is achieving a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime and gives you the confidence you deserve. Many people do not realize that one of the most important health benefits of orthognathic surgery is improving the airway. Correcting jaw balance and improving the airway allows for optimal breathing which in turn allows for optimal sleep and long term health. In children deficient jaw growth can not only lead to an improper bite, but a more integral problem with their underlying basic functions-breathing. This can affect their entire growth pattern and behavior. In adults the lack of an optimal airway from deficient jaw growth can lead to sleep disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing is something that Dr. Baker takes into consideration when diagnosing every patient. Whether you need orthodontic treatment to correct a bad bite, malocclusion, or jaw abnormality, orthognathic surgery can help restore your confidence, improve your breathing and sleep, and leave you smiling with confidence for many years to come.

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