Braces / Jaw Surgery


When people have crooked or crowded teeth, or when their bite does not align properly, braces can usually fix the problem, and the orthodontist can align the teeth and bite without any surgery.  There are more difficult cases, though, that cannot be properly corrected with braces alone.  When these more difficult cases are treated with braces exclusively and no surgery is done, the final bite and appearance is not only significantly less than ideal, but also is prone to relapse towards the original appearance, and is at high risk for a variety of dental problems in later years. 

Clearly, then, a certain number of orthodontic cases require surgical assistance.  The most common of these surgeries is removal of wisdom teeth.  Frequently, orthodontists need the wisdom teeth removed before placing the braces, so that the wisdom teeth do not hinder the movement of the other teeth.  In other cases, the orthodontist desires removal of the wisdom teeth as soon as possible, after the braces come off.  Lastly, there are cases in which the wisdom teeth slowly begin to hinder the orthodontic progress.  In these cases, the wisdom teeth are removed while the braces are still on. 

The second most common surgery that is performed, in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, is for impacted "eye teeth", or canines.  These cases are referred to, in lay terms, as "eye teeth being stuck in the roof of the mouth".  Although the teeth that are "stuck" are not always "eye teeth", and are not always in the "roof of the mouth", or even in the upper jaw, the lay term does describe the most frequent situation.  It is fairly common for teeth that are very important to the bite and smile to be stalled in their progress of coming into the mouth.  When this happens, the tooth is termed to be impacted, and it then needs surgical and orthodontic assistance to be brought properly into the bite.  The surgery involves opening the gums and affixing a gold chain to the impacted tooth.  After a brief period of healing, the orthodontist then applies forces to the chain, so as to drag the tooth into the proper location in the bite and smile. 

A newer surgical procedure, that is combined with braces, is offering solutions to previously difficult orthodontic problems.  It is possible to place small metal implants into strategic areas of the jaw bone.  These implants are called T.A.D.'s (temporary anchorage devices).  After a brief healing period, the T.A.D.'s are used as anchors, off of which orthodontic forces are applied.  These forces can now move teeth in directions that we previously impossible.  This is very effective for previously difficult cases, such as the orthodontic adult.

All the surgeons at Associates in Oral Surgery and Dental Implants work closely with many orthodontists in the area.  The surgeons are well aware that close communication between the doctors involved in treating the patient is essential for an optimal, final result.  Whether the surgery is a minor tooth removal or a more major realignment case, it is our mission to ensure that every aspect of the patient's case is thoroughly understood between the two specialists prior to the actual surgery. 

Click here to read more about Braces and Jaw Surgery

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