Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a specialized orthodontic treatment utilized to address severe cases involving issues like bad bites, jaw bone abnormalities, and malocclusion.

As one of the nine dental specialties, oral and maxillofacial surgery focuses on treating complex craniofacial conditions affecting the mouth, jaw, face, and skull.

At Tisseront Orthodontics in Reston, VA, Dr. Tisseront collaborates closely with oral and maxillofacial surgeons to ensure patients receive exceptional care when surgical orthodontics is necessary.

When Might Surgical Orthodontics Be Needed?

Surgical orthodontics may be recommended for adults with improper bites or aesthetic concerns. Typically, jaw growth is complete by age 16 in females and 18 in males, making orthognathic surgery a viable option for those whose jaws have finished growing. The need for surgical orthodontics arises when the jaws are misaligned and cannot be corrected through orthodontic treatment alone. Orthognathic surgery aims to align the jaw properly, followed by orthodontic braces to move the teeth into their correct positions.

Conditions that may indicate the need for corrective surgical orthodontics include:

  • Difficulty chewing or biting food
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Chronic jaw or TMJ pain and headaches
  • Excessive tooth wear
  • Open bite (space between upper and lower teeth when mouth is closed)
  • Facial imbalance
  • Facial injury
  • Birth defects
  • Receding or protruding jaw
  • Inability to close lips without strain
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Sleep apnea

How Do I Know If I Need Orthognathic Surgery?

Dr. Tisseront will evaluate your case to determine if orthognathic surgery is necessary for your treatment plan. Depending on the severity of your condition and jaw alignment, surgery may or may not be required.


How Does Orthognathic Surgery Work?

Orthognathic surgery is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in a hospital setting and can take several hours based on the individual case. Following surgery, there is typically a two-week rest period. Since orthognathic surgery is a significant procedure, it’s advisable to take time off from work or school during the recovery period. After jaw healing, your orthodontist will adjust your bite as needed using braces. Most patients have their braces removed within six to 12 months post-surgery and wear a retainer afterward to maintain the results.

What Are the Risks and Rewards?

Like any major surgery, there are associated risks with orthognathic surgery. However, the procedure has been performed for many years with established safety protocols. Patients can discuss any concerns with the practice team to address questions and ensure comfort throughout the treatment process. The rewards of orthognathic surgery include achieving a beautiful, healthy smile and restored confidence that lasts a lifetime.