Surgical orthodontics involves jaw surgery or “orthognathic surgery”. Just as an orthodontist repositions teeth, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon uses orthognathic surgery to reposition one or both jaws. Just as “orthodontics” means “straight teeth”, “orthognathic” means “straight jaws”. In fact, because moving the jaws also moves the teeth, orthognathic surgery is usually performed in conjunction with orthodontics so that the teeth are in proper position after surgery.
The objective of orthognathic surgery is the correction of a wide range of minor and major facial and jaw irregularities, and benefits include an improved ability to chew, speak and breathe. In many cases an enhanced appearance can also result.
Conditions that may indicate the need for surgical orthodontics in Seattle
- 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)