Teeth straightening surgery is an option for people with tooth and jaw misalignment that cannot be corrected through less-invasive methods. For people that do not opt for surgery to straighten their teeth, other treatments—including braces, retainers, or aligners—could meet their teeth-straightening needs.
Surgery to Straighten Teeth
Your doctor may recommend teeth straightening surgery if your teeth are not straight due to an overbite, underbite, or a misaligned jaw. This surgery realigns your jaw to make your teeth appear straight and an oral surgeon will perform it.
Isabel Sustegui-Mursuli, DDS, a Chicagoland dentist with over 30 years of experience straightening teeth through a variety of methods, tells WebMD Connect to Care, “If a person has a maxilla (top jaw) that is too large or too small, or mandible (lower jaw) that is too large or too small, you end up with an overbite or underbite and you need to have facial surgery, which is really skeletal surgery, to create what we think of as straight teeth.”
Facial surgery is an invasive procedure that comes with risks, including the following, according to Sustegui-Mursuli:
- Potential infection
- Pain and swelling
- Bones possibly not healing properly
- Long recovery time
In addition to the above drawbacks, “Your jaw must be wired shut for four to six weeks following surgery, so you can only take nourishment through a straw,” Sustegui-Mursuli says. “It is a very major surgery.”
Surgery to remove teeth can also straighten teeth. “If an individual’s teeth are too wide, sometimes you need to extract one or more to allow the space for the other teeth to appear straight,” Sustegui-Mursuli says. Tooth extraction surgery is much less invasive than jaw surgery, but it still comes with risks.
Other Teeth Straightening Options
If surgery to straighten your teeth is not the best treatment for you, you have options. Depending on your oral needs and goals, the following options are available for correcting crooked teeth and misaligned bites:
- Braces—The most common type of orthodontic treatment, braces consist of brackets and wires that can be attached on the front of, or behind, your teeth.
- Removable retainers—Typically a plastic and metal device that can be taken out, retainers help keep your teeth in line after they have been adjusted by braces.
- Dental aligners—Often clear, aligners are a series of custom-made mouthpieces that fit over your teeth and gradually move them into place.
If you are concerned about the alignment of your teeth or jaw, speak with an orthodontist about your options. An orthodontist will assess your mouth, teeth, and bite. Based on their diagnosis, they will recommend the best treatment approach for you.
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