Orthodontics treats the mal-alignment of teeth that has resulted from either the poor eruption or placement of teeth within the dental arches or the mal-alignment resulting from an imbalance in the underlying skeletal relationship. There is a point at which the orthodontist can no longer compensate for the underlying bony difference and at this time orthodontics will need to be conducted in conjunction with surgery by highly skilled and trained maxillofacial surgeons.

This treatment may be as simple as the surgical exposure of unerupted teeth to allow disimpaction or the use of skeletal anchors to achieve dental corrections that could not have been achieved with conventional orthodontics alone. When the discrepancies are larger the procedures can involve the osteogenic distraction of the jaws in patients as young as 12 or alternatively the surgical movement of the facial bones in patients beyond the age of 16.

The bony imbalance will then be addressed in conjunction with the orthodontic alignment of the teeth usually before and after the surgical intervention. Normally braces need to be worn to best place the teeth before the surgical procedure as well as to stabilise the dentition following the surgery. The results achieved can be cosmetically outstanding and have a significant positive effect for the patient.

Surgical orthodontics should only be conducted by a team of highly experienced interdisciplinary specialists.

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