Do Orthodontists Do Surgery?

If you have an issue with your teeth or jaw that needs treatment, you may be asking, do orthodontists do surgery? Knowing which dental professional to visit for a mouth issue can be confusing, but the team at Peterson Family Orthodontics can explain who can help you.

Is Surgery Something That Orthodontists Do?

General orthodontists do not typically perform surgery. There are a number of dental professionals with different purposes. The main focus of orthodontists is to realign the teeth and jaws using various methods.

Although most orthodontists do not do surgery as part of their daily duties, these professionals may be able to perform surgery if they went through additional education and training to become an orthodontic surgeon. Such a specialist is able to operate if it is necessary as part of the orthodontic treatment plan.

What Procedures Do Orthodontists Do?

Orthodontists do not do surgery typically but perform other procedures.

Orthodontists can complete a variety of procedures, depending on the patient’s specific needs.

It is not uncommon for orthodontic visits to start when children are around five or six years old. One of the duties of an orthodontist is to observe the growth of oral and facial features in children, so that if anything is not right, treatment can start early and prevent more serious issues.

To determine if and what type of orthodontic treatment may be necessary, an orthodontist performs a thorough exam of the patient’s mouth, teeth, and jaws. This exam often includes X-rays.

Common procedures an orthodontist may perform to correct tooth alignnent include:

  • Attaching and tightening metal, ceramic, or lingual braces
  • Measuring for and educating patients about clear aligners
  • Installing headgear, palatal expanders, or other appliances
  • Fitting for a retainer

These procedures help fix teeth misalignments, crowded teeth, gaps between teeth, and bite issues such as over- or underbites. 

Do Orthodontists Do Jaw Surgery?

Orthodontists do not perform jaw surgery.

Braces are often adequate to fix crooked teeth or bite issues. However, if there are severe misalignments of the upper and lower jaws, surgery may be necessary. If your orthodontist determines that general orthodontic treatment is not enough to fix the problem, the orthodontist will refer the patient to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or orthodontic surgeon to treat the issue.

A patient may need both orthodontics and jaw surgery. If this is the case, an orthodontist usually aligns the teeth before surgery occurs.

Will an Orthodontist Pull a Tooth?

No, an orthodontist does not pull teeth.

If a tooth extraction is necessary before the application of braces or Invisalign, the orthodontist refers the patient to a dentist first. A dentist has the training for a standard tooth extraction. If it is a complex issue, there may be the need for an oral surgeon. 

How Do You Know if You Need Orthodontic Surgery?

While most orthodontists do not do surgery, it is still a good idea to see an orthodontist before an oral surgeon even if you think you may need surgery. More conservative approaches are recommended before invasive techniques such as surgery, and your orthodontist may be able to fix the problem without the need for an operation.

If you are looking for an orthodontist, we at Peterson Family Orthodontics are happy to help. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation.