Surgical Orthodontic: Procedures and How They Can Benefit Your Oral Health and Aesthetics.

Dr. Hoss Abar

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Surgical orthodontic procedures can help correct dental and jaw issues that traditional orthodontic treatment can not address alone. These procedures involve surgically repositioning the jaw or modifying the bones in the mouth to improve oral function and aesthetics. This blog post will explore the different types of surgical orthodontic procedures, when they are needed and what to expect during and after treatment. We'll also discuss the benefits of surgical orthodontics and the potential risks and complications. Whether you are considering surgical orthodontic treatment for yourself or a loved one, this guide will give you a better understanding of the process and what to expect.  

What is the purpose of surgical orthodontics?   

Surgical orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that involves correcting complex dental and jaw issues through surgical procedures. Its purpose is to correct severe misalignments or deformities of the jaw and teeth that traditional orthodontic treatment can not address alone. These issues can include underbites, overbites, crossbites, and other jaw-related problems that impact oral function and aesthetics.  

Surgical orthodontics typically involves a team approach. An orthodontist will work closely with a maxillofacial surgeon to plan and carry out the necessary procedures. The orthodontist will use braces or other orthodontic appliances to gradually move the teeth into the correct position in preparation for surgery. The maxillofacial surgeon will then perform the surgical procedure, which may involve repositioning the jawbones, modifying the shape of the jaw or facial bones, or combining these approaches.  

What is the Preparation Process for Surgical Orthodontic Treatment?  

Preparation is a crucial step in the process of surgical orthodontic treatment. Before any procedures, orthodontists take several steps to ensure the patient is a suitable candidate for surgery and develop a customized treatment plan.  

Consultation: The first step in preparation is typically a consultation with an orthodontist. The orthodontist will evaluate your dental and jaw issues and determine whether surgical orthodontic treatment is necessary. If so, you will be referred to a maxillofacial surgeon for further evaluation and planning.  

Imaging: Imaging is an integral part of the preparation for surgical orthodontic treatment. The maxillofacial surgeon typically uses advanced imaging techniques, such as CT scans or 3D models, to create a detailed picture of your jaw and teeth. This imaging will be used to plan the surgical procedure and determine the exact movements and modifications needed.  

Planning: Once the imaging is complete, the maxillofacial surgeon and orthodontist will work together to develop a customized treatment plan for you. This plan will outline the specific procedures that will be performed, the timeline for treatment, and any necessary adjustments to the orthodontic appliances being used.


Surgical Procedure   

The surgical process involves several stages, including anesthesia, incisions, bone adjustments, and more.  

Anesthesia: The first stage of the surgical process is anesthesia. The patient will be given general anesthesia or intravenous sedation to ensure they are comfortable and pain-free during the procedure.  

Incision: Once the patient is under anesthesia, the surgeon will make incisions in the gums to access the jawbone. The incisions are typically made inside the mouth to minimize visible scarring.  

Bone adjustment: Next, the surgeon will adjust the bone as needed to correct the jaw or bite issue. This may involve repositioning the jawbone, modifying the shape of the jaw or facial bones, or a combination of these approaches. The surgeon will use specialized tools and techniques to ensure that the adjustments are precise and accurate.  

Once the bone adjustments are complete, the surgeon will secure the bones in their new position using small screws or plates. These devices are typically titanium and designed to remain in place permanently.  

Finally, the incisions will be closed using sutures.

What are the recovery and aftercare procedures for orthognathic surgery?   

Recovery and aftercare are critical components of the orthognathic surgery process. You must manage pain and swelling following surgery, adhere to specific dietary guidelines, and attend follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing.  

Pain management: Pain management is a significant concern during the recovery process. The surgeon will typically prescribe pain medication to help manage any discomfort. It is essential to take medicine as directed.  

Swelling: Swelling is also a common issue following orthognathic surgery. To help reduce swelling, you can use ice packs or cold compresses on the face in the first 24 to 48 hours following surgery. Afterward, you can use warm compresses to promote healing and reduce stiffness.  

Dietary guidelines: Dietary guidelines are an essential consideration during the recovery process. The surgeon will provide detailed dietary instructions based on your specific needs. You must follow a soft or liquid diet for several weeks following surgery to avoid putting too much pressure on the jaw.

Dietary guidelines


Follow-up appointment: Follow-up appointments are necessary to monitor the healing process and ensure that you progress as expected. You typically have several follow-up appointments with the surgeon and orthodontist in the weeks and months following surgery.  

What are the benefits of surgical orthodontic treatment?   

Surgical orthodontic treatment is a highly effective way to improve oral health, function, and aesthetics. Here are some of the benefits of surgical orthodontic treatment:  

Improved Aesthetics: Surgical orthodontic treatment can significantly improve your facial appearance. Correcting issues like a receding or protruding jaw, asymmetrical jawline, or a gummy smile can significantly enhance your overall facial aesthetics.  

Improved Function: Surgical orthodontic treatment can improve your bite, chewing ability, and speech. Addressing issues like an overbite, underbite, or crossbite can improve the alignment of the teeth and jaws, resulting in better function and comfort.  

Improved Oral Health: Surgical orthodontic treatment can help address various oral health issues, including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, sleep apnea, and tooth decay. Correcting these issues can improve overall oral health and reduce the risk of future dental problems.  

Long-Term Results: Surgical orthodontic treatment provides long-term results that are stable and last a lifetime. After the surgery, you must follow a specific aftercare plan to ensure proper healing and maintenance of the results.  

What are the risks and potential complications of surgical orthodontic treatment?  

Like any surgical procedure, it involves certain risks and potential complications. Here are some of the risks and complications associated with surgical orthodontic treatment:  

Infection: Infection is a common complication after any surgical procedure, including surgical orthodontics. You can reduce the risk of infection by following proper oral hygiene and post-operative care instructions.  

Nerve damage: Nerve damage is a potential risk of surgical orthodontic treatment. This can result in numbness or tingling in the lips, tongue, or chin. Most cases of nerve damage are temporary and resolved within a few weeks or months. However, in some cases, nerve damage can be permanent.  

Airway obstruction: Surgical orthodontic treatment can affect the airway and result in airway obstruction. This can cause breathing difficulties and may require additional treatment.  

Bleeding: Bleeding is a common complication after surgical orthodontic treatment. However, excessive bleeding can sometimes occur and may require medical attention.  

Pain and swelling: Pain and swelling are common after surgical orthodontic treatment. However, they may persist for an extended period and require medication or further treatment.  

Relapse: In some cases, the treated jaw may shift back to its original position, resulting in relapse. This can occur due to a lack of proper aftercare, failure to wear the prescribed appliances, or other factors.  

Allergic reaction: Some patients may experience an allergic reaction to the anesthesia or other medications used during the surgical procedure.  

What are the cost and insurance considerations for surgical orthodontic treatment?  

The cost of surgical orthodontic treatment can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case, the geographic location, and the experience of the orthodontist and surgeon.  

In general, surgical orthodontic treatment can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. This includes various expenses, such as pre-operative consultations, diagnostic imaging, surgical fees, hospital fees, anesthesia fees, and post-operative care. The cost can also vary depending on whether you have insurance coverage.  

When it comes to insurance coverage for surgical orthodontic treatment, it is essential to understand that most dental insurance plans do not cover orthodontic treatment that involves surgery. However, some medical insurance plans may cover the surgical component of the treatment, particularly if it is deemed medically necessary.  

To determine whether your insurance plan covers surgical orthodontic treatment, contact your insurance provider and review your policy's benefits and limitations. You may also want to discuss your treatment options and insurance coverage with your orthodontist and surgeon, who can help you navigate the insurance process and identify potential sources of financial assistance.  


In conclusion, surgical orthodontic treatment is a complex and specialized procedure that can significantly benefit patients with complex orthodontic issues. This treatment involves orthodontic treatment and corrective jaw surgery, which can improve aesthetics, function, and oral health. However, it is essential to consider the preparation, surgical process, recovery, aftercare, risks, and potential complications of this treatment.   

Additionally, cost and insurance considerations should be considered before committing to surgical orthodontic treatment.   

By working closely with your orthodontist and surgeon, you can make informed decisions about your treatment options and financial obligations. Overall, surgical orthodontic treatment can be a life-changing solution for patients with complex orthodontic issues, and it is worth considering if it is the right treatment option for you.

Contact your Pinole dentist, Dr. Hoss Abar, DDS, MSD at Abar Orthodontics, to learn more about Surgical Orthodontic: Procedures and How They Can Benefit Your Oral Health.


Surgical orthodontic specialist

*This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition*

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