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How Major Overbites Are Fixed In Dentistry

As your child grows up, you might feel concerned if the child has a major overbite that seems to be worsening with age. Overbites are common; however, major overbites can lead to numerous oral issues and issues with self-esteem. If you are wondering how dentists fix this, here are several important things to know.

Problems With Having An Overbite

While many people have minor overbites, having a major one can lead to a lot of different issues. The first is self-esteem. People with major overbites tend to feel self-conscious about the way they look. This can be hard for kids to deal with, but it is also hard for adults.

Secondly, major overbites can actually lead to oral problems. If a person's overbite is really bad, it can cause their upper teeth to rub against their lower gums. The friction this causes can lead to gum recession and gum disease. In addition, a person with a major overbite will have a higher chance of getting a tooth knocked out, simply because of the positioning of the teeth.

To determine if a person has a major overbite, a dentist will measure the teeth, primarily the area where the top teeth rest when the person's mouth is closed. If there is a large gap between the upper teeth and the lower teeth when the person's mouth is closed, it may be a severe case of an overbite. If so, this may require two steps, or more, to correct the problem.

Braces Are Often The First Step

When a child has a significant overbite, he or she should visit an orthodontist around age seven or eight. At this point, the orthodontist may suggest putting braces on the teeth. Braces can help shift the jaw of a person to a degree, and this is why dentists often recommend getting braces first.

In addition, braces tend to work better on children, simply because their jaws are still developing. Moving a child's jaw with orthodontics is easier than moving an adult's jaw. With braces on, the child's jaw will move as it grows. This could help correct part of the overbite problem, but it is not likely to correct the entire problem if the problem is major.

Orthognathic Surgery Might Be Needed

After wearing braces, the child will likely need a second step completed to fix the problem. This step is not typically completed when the child is young, though. In fact, it may not be completed until the child is at least 18 years old. The purpose of waiting until the child is an adult is to make sure the jaw is fully grown and developed. At this point, the dentist may recommend orthognathic surgery.

Orthognathic surgery is a procedure that involves repositioning the jaw. It is considered a major type of surgery, and it can result in pain and discomfort for several weeks. It is the only option, though, when braces do not fix an overbite completely.

During this procedure, the dentist will most likely move the upper jaw back and the lower jaw forward. Once this is done, the overbite will be fixed and will stay in this position for the rest of the person's life. The person's jaw will then look normal, and he or she will have a lower risk of developing oral problems related to overbites.

Dentists can fix overbites, but it is not something that can happen overnight. In many cases, it actually requires waiting until the child is an adult before the entire process can be completed. For more information, contact a business such as Central PA Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons LLC.