Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic (jaw) surgery, is a treatment modality used to correct severe abnormalities of the bite and jaw. Dr. Tamburrino and Dr. Shah will work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon as a team to ensure that if you need surgical orthodontics you receive the best care possible.
We both have extensive experience in treating orthodontic/orthognathic cases and have written multiple journal articles and given numerous scientific presentations on the most up-to-date techniques to successfully treat these cases. Additionally, we have designed and have several patents pending on devices used during these treatments to ensure our patients get the most exceptional result possible.
If you are considering or have been told that orthognathic surgery is something you should investigate, the orthodontist/surgeon team you choose is absolutely critical to ensuring a successful result. The orthodontist and the surgeon need to work together and communicate extensively. Knowing that we have a seamless team already in place to handle even the most complex of cases, this should help ease your decision to choose surgery should it be indicated for your smile.
When might surgical orthodontics be needed?
Surgical orthodontics may be used to treat adults with improper bites or other aesthetic concerns. Typically, jaw growth stops by age 16 in females and 18 in males. In order to receive orthognathic surgery, the jaw must be done growing. 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 without potentially causing damage to other structures. Orthognathic surgery in combination with braces will help properly align the jaw and the teeth into their proper position.
How do I know if I need orthognathic surgery?
We can tell you if orthognathic surgery may be an option as part of your treatment when we analyze your records. Every case is different, and the only way to determine the best course of action is to do a thorough workup.
How does orthognathic surgery work?
In a nutshell, there are several steps. After a proper diagnosis, our job is to place the teeth at the proper position in the jaws as they currently are. Your bite may actually look "worse" during this time, but that is all ok! Once we confirm that the teeth are in the right place, then an oral surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery, and the surgery will take place in a hospital. Your braces stay on for the surgery.
Once the surgery is complete, you will have about a one rest period, where we recommend that you schedule some time away from work and school. A common misconception is that you will be "wired shut" during this time. This is ABSOLUTELY not the case EVER and you will be able to open and close, but you will be restricted to a softer diet and told to not exert yourself.
About six weeks following surgery, we will begin to “fine-tune” your bite as if you were a normal orthodontic case, and most braces are removed within six to twelve 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 many years in practices and hospitals. If you're concerned about an upcoming treatment with orthognathic surgery, please contact our practice and let us know. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have, and provide you with any additional information. Your comfort is 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. Whether you need orthodontic treatment to correct a bad bite or jaw abnormality, orthognathic surgery can help restore your confidence and leave you smiling with confidence for many years to come.