I have a 3mm overbite as well as an overjet. i consider my smile very unnatractive and weak due to overbite. I also have consistant discomfort in my jaws when I eat and drink and my bottom jaw pops sometimes. I have difficulty swallowing and closing my mouth all the way around my teeth (due to the overbite and rather large teeth). Would surgery be worth it to correct this because it is very expensive and i have heard painful. Also it is a very long and uncomfortable process that I want to avoid

Doctor Answers 3

Surgery is Not a good idea!

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Dear friend,

Please do yourself a big favor and check out non-surgical approached for your correction.  You have what is know has TMJ Dysfunction or TMD.  This means your jaw joints are out of alignment and dysfunctional probably caused by your lower jaw getting trapped behind the upper teeth.  This should be corrected by a dentist who has a great deal of experience with these disorders.  It is likely that your jaw will be brought more forward with this phase of treatment.  Then for the next phase you could have your bite and teeth alignments corrected, which may include widening your upper jaw, then braces.  Look at a few of my before and after pictures to get an idea of what I am talking about.  Good luck to you.

Should I have surgery to correct my overbite/overjet?

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Sounds like you may have some issues with your TMJ (Temporomandibular Jaw Joint).  It is not a wise idea to undergo either Orthodontic or Orthognathic treatment until you have an evaluation of your jaw joints.  The best person to evaluate the health of your joints is an Oral Medicine Specialist.  Provided that your jaw joints are healthy, a combination of orthodontics and orthognathic (jaw) surgery may be a good alternative for you.  While surgery is expensive, often it makes the most sense for correction of very difficult malocclusions in non-growing people.  The trick is to make sure that the jaw joints are stabilized prior to undergoing any treatment!!  You may need to wear a "splint" for several months to stabilize your joints before a treatment plan can even be formulated.

Kara J. McCulloch, DMD
Mercer Island Orthodontist

3mm overbite is not excessive

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It is normal to have some overbite and overjet, 2 mm being the "normal" amount.  Being so close to the norm, treatment is likely to be insignificant.  If you have difficulty swallowing, then the overbite/overjet may not be the issue, and there is a skeletal issue.  The term "vertical maxillary excess" is sometimes used here, and would require surgery to correct.  While no surgery is fun and painless, most people report they wish they would have done it earlier.

Consult with an orthodontist, and if surgery is needed they should be able to direct you.

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.