Braces: orthodontist or jaw surgeon

Braces: orthodontist or oral surgeon?

With crooked teeth or misaligned jaws, it is usually impossible to avoid braces. Then the question arises whether an orthodontist or an oral surgeon is the right specialist for the treatment of braces. This question often arises, since the difference is often not quite apparent to the layperson.

But what exactly distinguishes orthodontics from jaw surgery in Austria? Who is it better to turn to if you need braces or teeth adjustment? In this post, all important questions on this topic are answered.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and an oral surgeon?

Apart from the main focus of training, the qualification and duration of training, the biggest difference between orthodontists and oral surgeons is the area of ​​activity.

Although an orthodontist is more concerned with dental braces for patients with crooked teeth, the oral surgeon is the specialist when it comes to operations on the face and jaw.


An orthodontist has studied dentistry and is a dentist who specializes in the movement of teeth. As a rule, an orthodontist deals with braces and thus helps patients with tooth adjustments to correct misaligned teeth over a longer period of time.

Different types of braces are used for children and adolescents or adults, such as invisible braces, the so-called Invisalign method.

oral surgeon

A maxillofacial surgeon is a doctor who has completed specialist medical training and is one of the specialists in surgery. To be able to work in maxillofacial surgery, you must have completed medicine, dentistry, and a specialist training for mouth, maxillofacial surgery and facial surgery.

This training path is one of the longest in Austria. For this reason there are e.g. in Lower Austria there are currently about 760 dentists but only 10 specialists in maxillofacial surgery.

What does an oral, maxillofacial and facial surgeon do??

A mouth, jaw and face surgery specialist specializes in facial surgery. A maxillofacial surgeon usually deals with all operations in the area of ​​the face, nose, jaw or mouth.

Orthodontics for braces treatments

If you need braces in Austria, you should go to an orthodontist. This specialist dentist can best help you with your jaw problem or odd teeth. Although some dentists have also specialized in orthodontics, teeth regulation is primarily offered by orthodontists.

In Austria, there are also increasing number of group practices in which a dentist and an orthodontist can be found. For some patients, the malalignment of the jaw is so serious that you can only be unsuccessful with pure braces treatment. In such cases, the best form of treatment is a combination of orthodontics and jaw surgery.

What types of brackets are there??

  • Metal brackets are made of steel or nickel-free stainless steel
  • Mini brackets are also made of metal, but are significantly smaller and therefore less noticeable than conventional brackets.
  • Ceramic brackets are discreet in color and easy to clean due to the smooth surface. However, there is an increased risk of breakage.
  • Self-alloying brackets do not need ligatures, the arch wires are threaded through small clips. Due to the lower friction, the treatment is gentler.

Combined maxillofacial surgical treatment

Complex malpositions in the jaw area are often treated in combination with an orthodontist and a jaw surgery. Cooperation from both departments is necessary to achieve successful treatment. This is imperative if the patient has already stopped growing and a correction of the jaw misalignment with braces alone is therefore not possible.

Procedure of a combination treatment of orthodontics and maxillofacial surgery

As a rule, you first make an initial consultation to talk to the specialist about the complaints, possible treatment methods and treatment procedures. Make sure that the doctor takes enough time for your needs and questions.

Talk about costs directly in the first appointment so that you don’t expect any nasty surprises afterwards. Often, photos and X-rays are taken at the first appointment, so that the first treatment options can be discussed directly.

Meeting in detail

As soon as you have decided on the proposed treatment, the second treatment appointment takes place, which serves as the starting signal, so to speak. In this appointment, the treatment methods and the specific schedule are discussed in detail with the orthodontist.

As a rule, you will soon get to know the oral surgeon who is treating you, who will use models to explain exactly how the jaw operation will work.

Attaching the braces before the operation

The teeth must be moved into the correct position before the operation. therefore, the braces are used at the beginning of the treatment. The pretreatment usually takes 12-18 months.

Oral surgery

The jaw surgeon then performs the jaw surgery in combination with a one-week inpatient stay for recovery. Depending on how quickly you have recovered, the healing phase begins and the braces treatment continues until the teeth are in the correct position. This can usually take a few months.

How high are the costs?

Austria is one of the few countries in which the surgical intervention is completely covered by most health insurance companies and therefore there are no costs for the patient. However, this only applies to the surgical intervention. The patient very well has to pay for the braces at the orthodontist and usually a private marathon to the surgeon himself. The price for tooth regulation depends on the type of braces.

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