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Help! My Orthodontist Said I Need Jaw Surgery

By September 24, 2020July 6th, 2023No Comments

As a Shorewood and Naperville orthodontist, we’ve had a lot of new patients say, “My entire life I’ve been told I cannot get orthodontic treatment unless I get jaw surgery. Is that true? Are there alternatives to corrective jaw surgery?” Jaw surgery is truly needed when either the top or bottom jaw bone has grown much larger or smaller than the other. If this jaw size discrepancy is significant, then jaw surgery combined with orthodontics is the only way to get the teeth to match up. However, if the jaw size discrepancy is minimal, Innovative Orthodontic Centers offers an incredible option to avoid surgery altogether. Non-surgical camouflage treatment can overcome the mismatch of the bones while restoring proper function and establishing a great smile.  WIth the creative use of the advances made in orthodontic technology, Dr. Manal Ibrahim and Dr. Christine Gin can now treat many of these patients with Invisalign or braces alone, instead of the jaw surgery others have recommended.  

Key Highlights:

  • Surgical orthodontics is when corrective jaw surgery is combined with braces or Invisalign treatment in cases of severe jaw bone discrepancies.
  • Sometimes, patients with a significant underbite, overbite, open bite or crossbite are told corrective jaw surgery is their only option and that braces or Invisalign alone won’t work for them.
  • If you’re told you need jaw surgery, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion because teeth alignment without surgery may be possible thanks to advances in technology and materials. 
  • While the specifics of how to fix a crooked jaw without surgery will depend on the unique case, it boils down to proactive versus reactive orthodontics. At Innovative Orthodontic Centers, we’re known for harnessing technology to treat complex cases without corrective surgery and for providing camouflage treatment.

What is Surgical Orthodontics?

First, before we get into how to fix a crooked jaw without surgery, let’s talk about what surgical orthodontics is and how it works. Surgical orthodontics is when we combine corrective jaw surgery, technically known as orthognathic surgery, with orthodontic treatment. When the jaw sizes are mismatched, the teeth compensate and end up in a less than ideal position, allowing the patient minimal function at best. Prior to surgical correction, braces or Invisalign are always used in order to properly achieve tooth position before correcting the jaws with surgery. The appliances stay on the teeth during surgery and for a short time following the surgery in order to stabilize the bite and create ideal function.  

When is Corrective Jaw Surgery Necessary?

Corrective jaw surgery is used for adult patients with severe bite imbalances that are due to structural issues with the jaw and not just the positioning of the teeth. We have to wait until the jaw is done growing so that the results are stable. One of the best reasons for children to visit an orthodontist at the recommended age of seven is because if we spot emerging bite issues, we can use appliances to guide jaw growth while they’re still developing, helping achieve jaw alignment without surgery and preventing the need for more complex treatment down the road. If certain problems aren’t treated early on, it’s not uncommon for corrective jaw surgery to be recommended. 

There are cases where the bite issue is so severe that surgery is really the best option. In the past, surgical orthodontics was often used for severe underbites and overbites, certain types of crossbites and open bites, but thanks to advances in diagnostics, treatment planning and the treatments themselves, this is becoming less common.

What are My Options for Jaw Alignment Without Surgery?

As we said, at Innovative Orthodontic Centers, we’re known for non-surgical camouflage orthodontic treatment for even the most complex cases. In fact, we have patients come to us from all over the country after being told corrective jaw surgery was their only option. The jaw surgery cost and recovery time are significant as is the length of the process, which usually takes years. Therefore, it’s important to seek a second opinion. You may be surprised at how we can achieve tooth and jaw alignment without surgery using braces or Invisalign alone.

Many doctors still rely on conventional orthodontic treatment with old technology and there are limitations to this. The vast majority of the treatment time is spent grappling with unwanted tooth movements even in a simple case. With a complex case, certain tooth and jaw movements just aren’t a possibility, which is why corrective surgery may be recommended. 

When it comes to how to fix a crooked jaw without surgery, it depends on the unique case. However, regardless of the bite issue, at our practice, it all boils down to our controlled, technology-drive approach. We use i-CAT™ and iTero® to see your dental and facial anatomy from all angles. We’re able to get a clear picture of the jaws and teeth all the way down to the tooth roots and nerve pathways. 

Using computerized treatment planning and advanced software, we can visualize different outcomes and create a plan that shifts the teeth more directly into their final positions. We take a proactive approach, as opposed to a reactive approach, and troubleshoot and plan movements before we even start treatment instead of adjusting after, which is how conventional treatment works.

“Not a single picture taken on my wedding day or the day my children were born show a big toothy grin. Why? Because I learned years ago to hide my teeth; they were ugly and embarrassing. I would periodically look into orthodontics but was told I’d need jaw surgery and years in braces and even then, a positive result would not be promised. At my initial consultation, Dr. Ibrahim developed a treatment plan using just Invisalign and AcceleDent. Now, at the end of treatment, you’d be hard pressed to find a current picture of me that doesn’t feature a big toothy grin. My jaw pain is gone, my gums are healthy and my smile is gorgeous.” – Teresa S.

Dr. Ibrahim and Dr. Gin use customized treatment options, including custom-made Invisalign® aligners and SureSmile® prescription braces wires. Patients are often skeptical that Invisalign can be considered among the alternatives to jaw surgery given that many practices only use it for mild cases. As one of the leading Invisalign providers in the world, Dr. Ibrahim has the expertise to facilitate complex tooth movements with clear aligners alone. In fact, Align Technology, the company that makes Invisalign, has called Dr. Ibrahim a “trailblazer.” We also use an incredible medical device called VPro during camouflage orthodontic treatment. This acceleration device helps stimulate the bone remodeling needed for changes to the bite and skeletal relationships ensuring that all programmed movements get expressed during orthodontic treatment. Whether we opt for braces or Invisalign, the technology bundle we utilize enhances predictability and precision for outstanding results. 

If you’ve been told by your dentist or orthodontist that you need corrective jaw surgery, contact Innovative Orthodontic Centers for a complimentary consultation or a second (or third) opinion. With our advanced approach, we’ve been able to achieve tooth and jaw alignment without surgery even in complicated cases to give patients stunning, functional smiles that last a lifetime. Call us at (630) 848-6960 or schedule a virtual consultation to get started. Your smile is worth it!