Surgically facilitated orthodontic treatment: a systematic review

Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2014 Apr;145(4 Suppl):S51-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2013.11.019.


Introduction: Corticotomy and dental distraction have been proposed as effective and safe methods to shorten orthodontic treatment duration in adolescent and adult patients. A systematic review was performed to evaluate the evidence supporting these claims.

Methods: PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases were searched until April 2013 for randomized controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, and case series with 5 or more subjects that focused on velocity of tooth movement, reduction of treatment duration, or complications with various surgical protocols. There were no language restrictions during the search phase. Publications were systematically assessed for eligibility, and 2 observers graded the methodologic quality of the included studies with a predefined scoring system.

Results: Eighteen articles met the inclusion criteria. Seven studies were clinical trials, with small investigated groups. Only studies of moderate and low values of evidence were found. Surgically facilitated treatment was indicated for various clinical problems. All publications reported temporarily accelerated tooth movement after surgery. No deleterious effects on the periodontium, no vitality loss, and no severe root resorption were found in any studies. However, the level of evidence to support these findings is limited owing to shortcomings in research methodologies and small treated groups. No research concerning long-term stability could be included.

Conclusions: Evidence based on the currently available studies of low-to-moderate quality showed that surgically facilitated orthodontics seems to be safe for the oral tissues and is characterized by a temporary phase of accelerated tooth movement. This can effectively shorten the duration of orthodontic treatment. However, to date, no prospective studies have compared overall treatment time and treatment outcome with those of a control group. Well-conducted, prospective research is still needed to draw valid conclusions.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alveolar Process / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Oral Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Oral Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Orthodontics, Corrective / adverse effects
  • Orthodontics, Corrective / methods*
  • Osteogenesis, Distraction / adverse effects
  • Osteogenesis, Distraction / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Tooth Movement Techniques / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome