How Orthodontics Can Help Correct Overbite, Underbite & Other Aesthetic Facial Concerns

Q: I don’t like my profile. I have a “weak” chin and my nose looks HUGE! How can orthodontics help?

A: New patients are evaluated by combining the results of a clinical exam with information obtained from the Records Appointment. We carefully measure the radiographs (Xrays) and plaster models to discern if the bones, teeth and soft tissues like the lip and nose are all in their best alignment. If everything lines up well, the jaw relationship is called Class 1.

Sometimes orthodontic movement can remedy a patient’s esthetic concerns. But there are often instances when the bones and teeth need to be surgically repositioned (Orthognathic Surgery.) And for some people, if their bones and teeth are both…

…well aligned, a referral to a plastic surgeon is the best option.

Orthognathic Surgery is usually a team endeavor with your general dentist, orthodontist and oral surgeon. Careful planning is needed for a stable and attractive final result. During the surgical phase, special appliances are used so the surgeon can stabilize the jaws for healing. Afterwards, the patients have a lot of smoothies and milkshakes!

For a patient with an overbite or weak chin, the lower jaw bone may be moved forward and/or the chin made bigger. Sometimes the upper jaw is moved back. This condition is called Class 2.

For a patient with an underbite, just the opposite treatment is needed. The upper jaw may be moved forward or the lower jaw moved back. Since many boys continue to grow well into their twenties, it may be recommended that this procedure is delayed a bit for them. This condition is called Class 3.

There are other situations which can benefit from orthognathic surgery. A very gummy smile comes to mind or an asymmetrical face or chin.

If you have concerns about your appearance or if you don’t think your teeth line up well, call our office for a free orthodontic examination. Dr. Foley will be happy to answer your questions.