Technology revolutionizes jaw surgery

Oct. 27, 2011
Orthodontists and surgeons now can collaborate with 3-D tools to vastly improve jaw surgery planning and process.

RICHARDSON, Texas — Patients whose jaw bones are misaligned so that their bite can’t be corrected with orthodontics alone can now benefit from a 3-D technology called SureSmile, which is used collaboratively by orthodontists and oral surgeons with improved results for patients in significantly less treatment time.

“Until now, we have been using plaster models and X-rays to predict and solve complicated 3-D problems. The 2-D modeling never really reproduced patient anatomy with accuracy,” said Dr. Pravin. K. Patel, associate professor of surgery, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago. “Now we can integrate virtual orthodontics with virtual surgery. It’s revolutionized how we see, diagnose, and treat patients. Patients have the potential to experience less operative time, less risk of blood loss, and speedier recoveries.”

SureSmile®, an orthodontic system that combines 3-D diagnostic imaging with computerized treatment plan modeling and robotic archwire customization, has added a surgical planning capability that offers virtual simulation of the movement of facial bones and teeth for orthognathic procedures. The soon-to-be-released SureSmile 6.0 will be the first and only orthodontic system to incorporate bone position into 3-D treatment planning.

“With SureSmile, the presurgical alignment is so much better. We are able to see how the teeth will fit and the jaws will come together virtually, without having to take continuous impressions and make multiple plaster models. The better the teeth are lined up before the surgery, the more accurately the surgeon can position the bone and decrease the patient’s time in braces after the surgery. Furthermore, SureSmile technology allows for interactive care planning between the surgeon and orthodontist to better address the patient's needs collaboratively," said Dr. Ron Jacobson, Jacobson Orthodontics, Chicago.

An orthodontist using the SureSmile surgical planning tool is able to precisely design tooth positions based upon where the bones will be after planned surgical movements to optimize the result. Surgeons can plan precise surgical cuts with detailed 3-D measurements with confidence in the predictability of presurgical dental movements.

One of the primary advantages of SureSmile for surgical cases is the ability for patients to visualize the treatment objectives. 19-year-old Diane Vargas of Chicago had a cross-bite and a chin that was asymmetrical to the rest of her face. Diane’s options were surgery or the extraction of a lower premolar to camouflage her skeletal discrepancy.

“With SureSmile software, we were able to show her simulations of how her teeth would fit and look in both scenarios, and that was helpful in her decision to elect the surgical approach,” said Dr. Jacobson, Diane’s orthodontist.

“The accuracy of the customized SureSmile wires was a huge advantage because at the time of surgery, Diane’s teeth fit together so well she did not need a surgical splint during healing. Her postsurgical detailing was minimal, so she was able to have her braces removed only four months after her procedure. Total treatment time was only 17 months. And best of all, she looks great,” Jacobson explained.

“We are continuously evolving SureSmile as orthodontists gain more experience in applying digital technology to patient treatment. We are committed to maintaining our position at the forefront of the digital revolution in orthodontics,” says Charles Abraham, CEO, OraMetrix Inc. (maker of SureSmile).

The SureSmile system is a digital technology that equips orthodontists with a powerful diagnostic, treatment, and monitoring tool to deliver the most precise, customized orthodontic care available. SureSmile has been shown to reduce treatment time by an average 30%, based on a February 2011 comparison of more than 40,000 patients. Since 2004, SureSmile has been used on 100,000 patients by more than 400 orthodontists in the United States, Australia, and Canada. For more information, go to