Orthognathic surgery is also known as "Surgical Orthodontics" because in the same way as an orthodontist repositions teeth, a maxillofacial surgeon uses orthognathic surgery to reposition the facial bones (maxilla and mandible). It is usually performed in conjunction with orthodontics so that the teeth are in the correct position after surgery.
The objective of orthognathic surgery is to correct a wide range of irregularities and incorrect positioning of the facial bones. Benefits include improved ability to chew, speak and breathe. In most cases it also results in aesthetic improvements for the patient.
Orthognathic surgery is performed through incisions inside the mouth so they are not visible. The jawbones are fixed using titanium plates that in most cases do not require removal following the procedure. The postoperative recovery period usually varies between seven and 10 days, making orthognathic surgery a viable option for consideration. As with implant surgery, software programs exist to enable optimal treatments using stereolithographic models that simulate the patient´s facial skeleton, enabling the surgeon to programme the surgery by performing it on these models in his consulting room, thus increasing accuracy.
Coordination between the orthodontist and the surgeon is vital, as the sequence of treatment is based on the positioning of the teeth, the bases of the jawbones, analysis of the face and the patient´s own expectations. We can say broadly that this treatment involves three phases: pre-surgical orthodontic treatment; the surgery itself; and a final occlusal adjustment performed by the orthodontist. Total treatment time is usually one to two years and surgery cannot be carried out until the patient has achieved full growth, usually between 17 and 19 years of age.