Corrective Jaw Surgery for Overbite
An overbite is a common form of malocclusion. If left untreated, the condition can lead to more serious oral health concerns, such as chewing issues or dental damage. The good news is that overbites can be corrected at any age through orthodontics or oral surgery.
Today, our team at Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics in Philadelphia, PA will explore corrective jaw surgery for overbite so patients can be well informed of their treatment options.
What Is an Overbite?
Simply stated, an overbite is characterized by upper teeth that overlap the lower teeth. However, there are two types of overbites, each one unique.
A vertical overbite occurs when the bite is deeper than it should be. While a slight vertical overlap (between two to three millimeters) is normal, some patients have a bite that measures around four to 10 millimeters deep.
A horizontal overbite is also referred to as an overjet. This condition is typically habit-related and is present when the front teeth protrude outward over the bottom teeth. This type of malocclusion is generally caused by tongue-thrusting, thumb-sucking, or prolonged pacifier or bottle use.
What Causes an Overbite?
Many cases of overbites are due to a genetic factor. For example, the upper jaw may be overdeveloped or the lower jaw may be underdeveloped. The teeth may also simply erupt in a protruded fashion. In other instances, impacted or overcrowded teeth can cause the front teeth to be pushed forward. As aforementioned, overbites can also be caused by early childhood habits.
The Importance of Correcting an Overbite
Initially, an overbite may not seem like a big deal. In fact, it usually does not cause pain or discomfort. However, as time goes on, this type of malocclusion can result in chewing issues, speech problems, and an increased risk of tooth damage.
In order for your smile to be fully functional and healthy, all orofacial elements should work together harmoniously. When your jaw is in alignment, your teeth, gums, and other structures will be healthier.
About Corrective Jaw Surgery
Many overbites can be corrected through orthodontics alone. However, in some cases, corrective jaw surgery will be necessary. For example, if your malocclusion is due to abnormal skeletal structure, then surgery is often the only predictable option.
During this procedure, which is typically performed under general anesthesia, your oral surgeon will make incisions in the gums to access the underlying jawbone. The jaw will then be strategically divided into segments so that it can be moved into its proper position. To set the jaw, your surgeon will use plates, screws, or other surgical materials.
Following the surgery, most patients require one to two weeks of initial recovery time. During this time, discomfort and swelling is normal. Your doctor will provide you with prescription medications and a comprehensive list of post-surgical instructions. Following these instructions closely will help you enjoy a successful recovery.
Benefits of Corrective Jaw Surgery
Undergoing corrective jaw surgery is a significant decision. However, it can drastically improve your overall quality of life. Patients who correct their overbites with jaw surgery:
- Can chew easier
- Typically experience a reduction in chronic joint pain
- Have less TMJ-related headaches
- May experience improved speech due to the new position of their jaws
Learn More about Corrective Jaw Surgery
If you have an overbite and would like to learn more about your treatment options, schedule a consultation at our practice. Call us at one of our three office locations or contact us online anytime.