The orthodontist is the key provider of care, preparing teeth for upcoming surgery, commonly by using orthodontic hardware (braces) to reposition the teeth. Orthodontist and surgeon communication is key during this phase, as the surgeon will guide the orthodontist on how to maneuver the teeth prior to jaw surgery, and the orthodontist will guide the surgeon as to how to move the jaw bones to achieve the absolute best occlusion (bite relationship) for the patient. Duration is anywhere from 6-18 months, depending on the severity of the bite/jaw abnormality. A consultation with a surgeon and an orthodontist is essential early, and you (your child) should anticipate a prolonged course of therapy prior to surgery. During this phase, your surgeon will outline to you the surgical plan, developed by the careful analysis of your (your child’s) digital photography, x-rays, and dental casts.
If you (your child) do not have an orthodontist involved in your (your child’s) care, please ask your surgeon for a referral. Here at UChicago Medicine, we have a team of orthodontists who specialize in this type of diagnosis, and we can refer you (your child) to one that is convenient for you in terms of your location.