Many people wonder if they can correct their Type II or III malocclusion only with orthodontia and thus avoid undergoing surgery. To clarify this doubt, it is necessary to visualize the field of action of both specialties: orthodontics and orthognathic surgery.
Braces act on the teeth, correcting their position in the dental arches, but, although it is true that at an early stage of development bone's growth can be influenced, orthodontic treatments in adults have no impact on the bone structure.
To correct the position of the facial bone structure, a maxillofacial surgeon is the practicioner you should consult, as they are the only specialists with specific training to carry out this type of procedure. Within the areas of action of a maxillofacial surgeon we find orthognathic surgery, in charge of mobilizing the maxillary and mandibular bones, and therefore the indicated procedure to correct a bone malocclusion.
Thus, orthodontics will only act on the teeth, and orthognathic surgery on the bones. In cases of class II and class III malocclusion in adults, it is necessary to mobilize both, so the indicated treatment is a combination of orthodontic treatment and orthognathic surgery.
Orthodontic treatment usually begins about a year before orthognathic surgery is performed. During this time, the orthodontist will gradually reposition the teeth to achieve a perfect bite after surgery. That is, before surgery the teeth will not be well aligned, but once the necessary bone movements have been made (in the operating room), the dental arches will fit perfectly.
It should be noted that, although the treatment to correct malocclusions is long and goes through the operating room, the functional and aesthetic improvement achieved far exceeds its discomfort. Likewise, post-surgical orthodontic treatment, and adequate retention when orthodontics are definitively completed, also play a very important role in achieving better stability of the results of orthognathic surgery.