Corrective Jaw Surgery Questions and Answers Archive

Nov
2001

Q&A: Can I avoid braces if I have oral surgery to correct a severe overbite?

Question:

I've been told I have a pretty severe over bite and should have oral surgery to correct it because it causes serious pain in my jaw and popping when I chew. The way the procedure was described to me is that there would be incisions made on either side of my lower jaw, then they would lengthen it and put screws in my jaw. Is there any way that this surgery can be done with out having to get braces as well?

- Athena

Answer:

 David A. King, DDS - LocateADoc.com

The standard of care leans towards orthognathic surgery (ie: corrective jaw surgery) involving atleast an oral & maxillofacial surgeon and an orthodontist. Proper tooth alignment can be critical for a stable and acceptable outcome.

-- David A. King, DDS
Wilmington, Delaware



May
2001

Q&A: Do I have any options if my insurance company will not cover the repair of my under bite resulting in eating problems?

Question:

I have a bad underbite. I had a surgery consult, and had been planning on having the surgery at the end of June. They planned on moving my upper jaw forward and possibly moving the lower one back also. They were also going to shorten my upper jaw. Then I found out my insurance doensn't cover the surgery and it is likely to cost 30-35,000 dollars. I can't afford that! I'm really insecure about my smile, and I have a lot of problems eating. Is there any way to get my insurance company to cover it? Do you know of any companies that do cover that kind of surgery?

- Kelly

Answer:

Kelly, Unfortunate for many, insurance companies often apply the cosmetic surgery rules to orthognathic surgery. They feel the establishment of a functional bite is nothing more than cosmetic surgery, and most companies will not cover cosmetic surgery. It may take a number of appeal and review letters to get the company to assist you. You may need to make a number of calls to the company, and have both your doctor's office and your employee benefits rep make calls, too. If it can be a benefit to any medical problems you have, e.g.TMJ, gastric problems, air way problems you might get a favorable responce. Check also that your benefit handbook excludes or does not exclude corrective jaw surgery. It may mean changing docs, but if they do cover it it may mean you have to see a new provider. Good luck

--Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida



Nov
2000

Q&A: What is the procedure to correct a severe overbite?

Question:

I have such a bad bite that the top of my bottom teeth are touching the back of my top teeth at the gum line when I close my mouth. This significantly impairs my breathing, especially at night. I want to know if there is a procedure that could correct this problem and how long it would take for my teeth to erupt as they are supposed to. I would also like to know a ball park figure for the cost since I have no insurance. I have already tried an appliance and have four broken teeth to show for it (due to bruxism).

- Linda

Answer:

Linda, Go see an oral surgeon and an orthodontist to a complee examination and xray series. You may be a candidate for corrective jaw surgery. Sometimes orthodontics and splints alone just isn't enough to correct a bad bite, and it sounds like you have a very small lower jaw. There is treatment, it won't be quick, it won't be easy, and it won't be cheap. You will need to ask docs in your area what the fees could be, I have no idea what they charge in Indiana.

--Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida