7. Orthodontic and Dental Preparation for Jaw Surgery
Orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth may take 12 – 24 months of preparation before the surgery. Cavities and poor oral care need to be addressed before braces.
The role of the orthodontist is to first straighten and coordinate the teeth so that surgery is possible. Straightening the teeth means 1) moving all the teeth in the upper jaw so that they are all in line with each other and 2) moving all the teeth in the lower jaw so that they are all in line with each other. Coordinating the teeth means making sure the upper teeth mesh well with the lower teeth so that they interlock like the pieces of a puzzle. The orthodontist may recommend removal of certain teeth or other dental procedures as part of the orthodontic component of the treatment.
The surgeon will request removal of all wisdom teeth called 3rd molars at least at least 8 months prior to the surgery, especially with lower jaw surgery.
For some patients, an additional jaw surgery may be needed to help orthodontically widen the upper jaw called Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion (SARPE). Children born with facial clefts may need additional bone grafting of the cleft site to structurally support the upper jaw for the surgery.
Remove 3rd Molars
8 months before lower jaw surgery