Do you need jaw surgery to correct an overbite, or is there another way to move your lower jaw forward?
The answer to those questions depends on the severity of your overbite. Only an experienced oral surgeon can determine whether your situation requires surgery. Meanwhile, it may help to understand the various treatment approaches used for bite correction.
A Mild Overbite May Be Corrected Without Jaw Surgery
A slight overbite, in which the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth by 3 to 5 mm, can often be corrected through nonsurgical means.
A variety of orthodontic appliances can be used to help reposition the lower jaw. Braces and elastics can be used with many mild overbites, for example, while other patients require bonded retainers, bite plates, archwires, headgear or coiled springs. These methods of correction are typically done by an orthodontist.
Although these procedures help patients avoid surgery, correcting an overbite with any of these devices can take a long time. In fact, some patients must wear orthodontic appliances for years to achieve the desired results.
Jaw Surgery Is Most Effective for a Significant Overbite
If your upper teeth hang over your lower teeth by more than a few millimeters — and you want to see a marked improvement — jaw surgery will likely be necessary. Orthodontic treatments cannot fully correct significant bite problems.
To correct a moderate to severe jaw misalignment, the oral surgeon separates the bone at the rear of your lower jaw so that your chin can be pulled forward. After the bone is surgically modified, it will be fixed in place with plates and screws.
This type of surgery can usually be performed through incisions made inside the mouth. Most patients end up with very little visible scarring after healing from their overbite correction surgery.
Which Overbite Correction Method Is Right for You?
If your teeth don’t meet properly, you may have problems chewing, speaking and breathing. Left uncorrected, your bite problem can lead to an aged appearance, as the lower half of your face may eventually begin to look tired and drawn.
Because every patient’s overbite is different, no one-size-fits-all approach can be used for correction. To learn more about your options, schedule a consultation with one of our oral surgeons. For some patients, both surgical and orthodontic treatments are necessary.
During your consultation, the oral surgeon will use X-rays, computer imaging techniques and three-dimensional models to evaluate the severity of your overbite. This technology can also be used to demonstrate how jaw surgery corrects a bite problem.
Fixing your bite problem can have a dramatic and positive effect on both your facial function and appearance. The oral surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can help you select the best way to correct your overbite. Call our Salt Lake City office to schedule a jaw surgery consultation today.