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Surgical Orthodontics

When dental movements alone are not sufficient

Surgical Orthodontics | Days to Smile | San Francisco

Surgical orthodontics is a treatment that combines orthodontics and orthognathic surgery to correct major jaw irregularities that are beyond what can be achieved by orthodontics itself. The treatment can be used to improve the patient´s ability to chew, speak, and breathe and to improve facial appearance. Moving the jaws requires the teeth to be in optimal position before, during and after surgery so braces or Invisalign are always worn in conjunction with orthognathic surgery.

Is Surgical Orthodontics right for me?

Is Surgical Orthodontics right for me?

​Surgical orthodontics can be used to help the following conditions:

  • Widen your airway if you have sleep apnea.

  • Repair facial trauma or congenital birth defects.

  • Skeletal issues causing only a few teeth to contact therefore having a bad bite

  • Alleviate facial imbalances such as a small chin, underbites, overbites, crossbites and facial asymmetries.

  • Relieve pain caused by degenerative joint disease leading to temperomandibular joint disorders

Overview of the Treatment

Your orthodontist and oral maxillofacial surgeon will work together to plan your treatment in order to obtain the best aesthetics and function.

Once the planning is complete, your orthodontist will determine if Invisalign or braces are the best options for your particular surgery. The orthodontist will start your treatment and take a 3D ICAT CBCT to enable the creation of a splint used in the surgery.

Using a special surgery first technique, a patient will often have surgery within one month of starting orthodontics. This minimizes the amount of time that the patient is in treatment for less than a year.

Preparing for the surgery

Make sure that you are in good health prior to surgery and maintain good oral hygiene. Consider purchasing a WaterPik, it will help you clean your teeth immediately after surgery when opening your jaw may be limited.


Let the doctors know if you are allergic to specific types of antibiotics or had bad reactions to general anesthesia. Buy soft foods and prepare for a liquid diet for a couple of weeks after surgery. Try to have someone who can take care of you for at least two weeks after surgery

Day of the surgery

The surgery will be performed by a surgeon at a hospital and will take several hours during which you will be under general anesthesia. After the surgery, the doctor will determine how you're doing and then you will spend at least one night up to a couple of days in the Intensive Care Unit to monitor for any complications.

Healing after the surgery

Following your stay in the Intensive Care Unit you will be able to return home to rest and have a relatively normal life while eating soft food.  You can return to work within two weeks.

After waiting two to four weeks for your jaws to stabilize and swelling to reduce, your orthodontist will begin to refine your bite to give you the optimal smile. You'll finish treatment, and the braces or Invisalign will be removed, within three to six months following surgery. After your braces or Invisalign are removed, you will receive a retainer to maintain your beautiful new smile.

How are the jaws repositioned?

For the lower jaw, the jawbone below the teeth is separated. For the upper jaw,, the bone behind the upper lip is separated. 


This allows for one or both jaws to be repositioned to their proper positions by moving them forward, backward, up or down, and/or rotating them clockwise or counterclockwise. Certain movements may require bone grafting to achieve the proper alignment and stability. 

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