What Are the Options if Braces Won't Correct an Overbite?

How likely is the need to have the  jaw broken to correct an overbite if regular braces are not enough? What procedures are available?

Doctor Answers 3

Correcting large overbites in adults can be challenging

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There are many options for correcting an overbite in an adult.  Each has different indications based on the problems you present with and your desires.  They all require braces along with other methods such as:

  • elastics
  • orthognathic surgery
  • spring loaded bite correctors
  • extracting some premolars, and move the upper front teeth back

The surgical option often can give the best result, but you have to be prepared to go through quite a journey to get there.  In the end the result is often amazing and life changing.  A thorough evaluation by an orthodontist can give you a better idea of which method might work for you.  They even may be able to give you options - with pros and cons for each.

Atlanta Orthodontist

Is Jaw Surgery the Only Option for Fixing My Overbite?

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Many patients have overbites. Few require jaw surgery. If you have an overbite, there are several options depending upon the severity of your overbite problem. If it is mild, you might be able to get by with rubber bands or springs alone. For more moderate problems you might need to have some teeth removed from the upper arch so that the front teeth can be pushed backwards. If you have a severe problem, moving a small lower jaw forward  may give you the best result. If you do not want the surgery or can't have it (medical condition or finances), you may have to accept a compromised finish. You might not get a complete correction of your overbite, but you could at least have it improved by extractions, springs, or rubberbands.

Greg Jorgensen, DMD, MS
Albuquerque Orthodontist

Jaw surgery to correct overbite or underbite

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If your jaw structure is incorrect beyond a certain level the jaw surgery is sometimes needed to correct the bite.  The teeth are straightened the normal way and then the jaws are surgically moved so they will fit together correctly. Sometimes the upper is moved forward or back and sometimes the lower is moved forward or back and sometimes both are moved.

As an Orthodontist  I would make every effort to avoid jaw surgery if at all possible.  There are many times that a treatment plan can be designed to "camouflage" the underlying jaw discrepancy.   

If I think surgery may be necessary to achieve the treatments goals in terms of the bite but especially in terms of facial appearance I will refer the patient to the surgeon for a consultation so that they are fully informed as to all aspects of the proposed treatment including risks and benefits.   Less that 1% of our patients need jaw surgery but in those that do need it it can be life changing in terms of appearance and confidence.

Clark L. Jones, DDS, MSD
Phoenix Orthodontist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.