A Passion for Surgical Orthodontics
Surgical Orthodontics involves collaboration with an Oral and Maxillo-Facial surgeon or sometimes an Oral Surgeon to help correct various dental problems.
In some people, teeth may be impacted or stuck and therefore unable to erupt into a correct position. The surgeon will need to uncover an impacted tooth, and then this tooth brought into line with orthodontic treatment.
In other situations, there is an underlying jaw problem which means that the bite is so severe that orthodontic treatment cannot correct the problem alone. The severity of such a bite problem can impact a person in a number of ways. Here are a few examples of how an abnormal bite can impact a person either in function or aesthetics.
Accurate Preassessment, Planning and Effective Collaboration are Critical
In these situations, a combination of orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth plus surgical treatment to realign the jaws is warranted. This is called orthognathic treatment, and it is a team effort which involves working together with an Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgeon.
A comprehensive orthodontic assessment will confirm whether orthognathic treatment is needed. When it is required treatment usually begins when growth has stopped, this is typically after 16 years of age for females and 18 years of age for males. Working alongside an Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgeon allows us to formulate a joint treatment plan. Once a patient is ready for treatment, then they start off with the pre-surgical orthodontic phase which helps move the teeth into a better position. This phase of treatment is often the longest and can take up to 18 months in some instances, in more complicated situations a little longer.
Once the teeth have been aligned, and in an optimum position for the surgeon then the patient will have their surgical procedure as an in-patient at the hospital. Once the surgeon is happy with the new bite, then the final phase of orthodontics can be commenced, which can be up to six months.
An Abnormal Bite Can Effect Aesthetics and Functionality
When you have a bad bite, it changes the way your teeth fit together. An abnormal bite can lead to a variety of problems, including:
- Chipped or damaged teeth
- Prematurely worn restorations
- Loose or lost teeth
- Jaw pain and tension
- Tooth grinding
- Speech problems
A bad bite can also affect your appearance and the aesthetics of your smile, causing a wide range of problems, including:
- A midline discrepancy, which means the midline of your teeth does not properly align with your nose
- An underbite (prominent lower teeth), which occurs when the lower jaw juts in front of the upper jaw
- An increased overjet (protruding top teeth), which occurs when the upper jaw juts over the lower jaw, obstructing some or all over the lower teeth
- Crossbite, which can lead to facial asymmetry
- Open bite, which can prevent the mouth from closing fully
While there are many types of orthodontic treatment, including braces and clear aligners, sometimes surgery can be necessary to correct the bite adequately. Oral surgery can sound scary for patients, but it’s relatively simple and routine.
Do I Need Oral Surgery?
Only your orthodontist can tell you for sure if you are a candidate for oral surgery. Jaw discrepancies that can only be corrected through surgery are fairly rare. If you are a candidate for orthognathic surgery; Dr Hopkins will explain the process and your treatment options.
Alternative therapies can be presented and may be appropriate for your case so that you can make the best decision for your needs.
In other cases, teeth may need to be exposed or extracted for more effective orthodontic care.
What will my costs be?
The cost of oral surgery depends on the type of surgery you need and other factors.
Is oral surgery covered by Medicare schemes or private health cover?
That depends. Medicare schemes cover some oral surgery fees. Private health insurance coverage may cover some of your orthodontic and surgical costs. Contact your provider before scheduling your service first to check your benefits. Additionally, most oral surgery is considered “major dental” treatment, which has a 12-month waiting period. Anaesthesia fees may be paid separately.
How is oral surgery regulated?
The surgical procedures are carried out by Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgeons (OMFS). These are Dentists who also have a degree in Medicine, and have trained to become a surgeon in this very specialised area.
The Dental Board of Australia registers Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgeons, who must meet minimum educational requirements and achieve a Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Dental Surgeons (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery). OMFS are further regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
What to Expect from Oral Surgery
Many patients are understandably concerned to discover they need oral surgery. At Oasis Orthodontics, we offer personalised treatments in a spacious, relaxing environment designed to put you at ease. We’ll explain the procedure and answer your questions.
After surgery, we’ll provide you with aftercare instructions. Most people recover without complications, but you will need to rest until the effects of the anaesthetic have passed. You’ll also need to take precautions until the surgical site has healed.