Overbites are one of the most common jaw conditions patients seek treatment for.

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An overbite is identified when the top front teeth appear to extend beyond your bottom front teeth, which creates a sizeable difference between where each sits in relation to each other. However, overbites are not a teeth issue, it is what occurs when the lower jaw is smaller, sometimes significantly so, than the upper jaw. 

Although a big overbite is the product of a small lower jaw, most orthodontic treatments of an overbite involve making your upper jaw smaller by removing teeth, or training you to posture your lower jaw forward.

Braces are widely accepted as the way to correct misaligned teeth. But trying to fix structural issues of the face with simple orthodontics, can have permanently harmful effects on breathing and facial development.

It's still common orthodontic practice to treat dental crowding by taking out healthy teeth. Teeth are generally the same size, so if your teeth aren't straight, it's likely your jaws haven't reached their ideal size. The only way to achieve an ideal jaw size is through overbite jaw surgery.

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Extracting premolars to create dental space for orthodontic decrowding, or retraction of prominent anterior teeth, is the basis for all camouflage orthodontics. Almost all adolescents with dental crowding will also develop impactions of the third molars (wisdom teeth). As you can see from the image above this method of treating an overbite ultimately results in a smaller upper jaw and doesn't take into consideration the inevitable impaction and further removal of the third molars.

Methods to fix an overbite

Orthodontic extractions
Traditional Jaw Surgery (BSSO)
Jaw Splints

Current surgical techniques to advance your lower jaw have benefits, but these are relatively modest. There are limits to how far they can bring your jaw forward, and require you to wait until you finish growing.

IMDO™ corrects an overbite while the face is growing, without removing teeth, or spending lengthy time in braces. IMDO™ opens your airway to normalise your breathing, and balances the proportions of your face.

Extraction-based orthodontics uses the space made from tooth removal to pull back the upper front teeth.

Using braces to pull the front teeth back restricts the normal growth of the upper jaw. In fact, the goal with orthodontic extractions is to make the upper jaw smaller, to match the already small lower jaw.

This form of treatment is considered by many to be conservative, probably because orthodontics has been practiced this way for the past century. However, extraction orthodontics is anything but conservative.

One surgical procedure is needed to remove teeth before even starting braces. At least two years in braces is needed to close the extraction spaces, and further surgery is likely to remove impacted wisdom teeth.

Extraction orthodontics results in the loss of eight or more healthy teeth.

Jaw Surgery corrects a small lower jaw by advancing it to match the upper jaw. The BSSO is performed by making a surgical cut at the angle of the jaw, which allows the front of the jaw and teeth to slide forward.

The procedure is reserved for patients with complete facial growth. At least one year of orthodontic treatment is required before surgery, to move teeth into a position that enables predictable alignment of the jaws.

Small titanium plates and screws hold the lower jaw stable while it heals, and require removal in a second procedure. It can take up to three months or more for numbness to disappear, and normal jaw function to return.

Jaw Surgery has limits to the amount of stable movement each procedure can achieve. The BSSO can advance the lower jaw by a maximum of 10mm.

Jaw Splints are often used alongside orthodontic extractions when attempting to correct an overbite. The devices are designed to increase growth of the lower jaw, by pushing and holding the lower jaw forwards.

Pushing the jaw joints forward and out of their sockets, is intended to increase their growth during development. This supposedly lengthens the lower jaw so that it is correctly proportioned with the upper jaw. Another view is that the jaw joint finds a new functional position in the more forward position. Despite numerous studies to measure the success of Jaw Splints, all research to date has proven them ineffective.

There is the additional concern that the continued use of Jaw Splints during orthodontic treatment, can result in long-term jaw joint damage and chronic pain.

Best case scenario, treatment with Jaw Splints merely fails to correct a small lower jaw. At worst, it can lead to permanent injury to the jaw joints and debilitating pain conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Invisalign or braces correct overbite?

Invisalign and braces can correct the positioning of the teeth and shrink the upper jaw to correlate with the lower jaw more, giving the impression of a corrected overbite. However surgery is required to correct the lower jaw and fix the overbite structurally.

How to fix an overbite naturally