Many casual observers or people who’ve not undergone orthodontic treatment use orthodontics as an umbrella term, when in reality it can be subdivided into more distinct groups. There are both surgical and non-surgical orthodontics, both of which can correct bite misalignment to varying degrees.

Surgical Orthodontics

Surgical orthodontics (orthognathic surgery) is a class of orthodontic treatment used to correct a number of severe oral health conditions, including:

  • Extreme overbites and underbites
  • Abnormalities of the jaw bone
  • Malocclusion (which occurs when mismatched teeth or jaw causes bite issues)

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is one of nine dental specializations. This area of dentistry focuses on treating craniofacial cases of variable complexity which involve:

  • The mouth
  • The jaw
  • The face
  • The skull

Many patients enjoy multiple rewards from undergoing orthognathic surgery. The process, when performed by skilled practitioners, will yield a beautiful, healthy smile, while alleviating problems that arise from severe bite misalignment, malocclusion, and jaw abnormalities.

Often, orthodontists work with oral and maxillofacial surgeons in order to ensure the patient gets the best results possible. Many patients who exhibit scenarios mentioned below can receive treatment free of surgical intervention:

  • Those who have good facial balance and symmetry, despite having a misaligned bite.
  • Children cannot undergo surgical orthodontics, for their jaws and facial structures are still growing.
  • Patients with a “borderline” need for surgery.

Orthodontic surgery can come along with certain risks attached. However, this process is well-established and has been performed for many years, enjoying advancements in methods, procedures, and technology. Patients should make sure to discuss any surgical concerns with their dentist and maxillofacial surgeon.

Non-Surgical Orthodontics

Non-surgical orthodontic treatments can treat moderate skeletal malocclusion (categorized as Class III or lower) with a combination of the following treatment components:

  • Face mask
  • Haas-type expansion orthodontics appliance
  • Lower fixed appliance
  • Class III elastics followed by full fixed appliance

Non-surgical orthodontic treatments can still yield great success in young adults with hyperdivergent growth patterns. Customized combinations of fixed and orthopedic appliances are effective in the cases where they are applicable. Non-surgical orthodontics provide alternative treatment options for patients who do not wish to undergo orthodontic surgery which comes along with significant downtime and discomfort.

In conclusion, it really depends on the case, the age, and the oral health needs of the individual patient whether or not surgical or non-surgical orthodontics will be needed. Practices like Pacific Dental Care provide extensive orthodontic options like metal or ceramic braces, clear braces, fast braces, and Invisalign. However, if surgical intervention is needed, dental practices will need to collaborate with a skilled maxillofacial surgeon.