Q&A: Is there anything besides jaw broken and replacement to help my 15 year old son's underbite?

Ask A Doctor Question: 

Hi! My son, 15, has an underbite in which the dentist and ortho states that he will need to have his jaw broken and replaced. I don't want to do that. Is there anything that can b done that's non surgical such as facelift to help this?

- Tracey


Dear Tracy,
It depends on the amount of underbite and the smile display your son has. Sometimes it is permissible to leave an underbite and not do any treatment. Other times some cosmetic fixes such as crowns and bite adjustments can produce a vastly better appearance.
If the jaw discrepancy is a real problem and the bite is off and cosmetics are poor then repositioning the jaw with surgery may be the best option.
I would need to do a full examination with x-rays to give you any more advice.
All the best!

--Richard Winter, D.D.S., M.A.G.D.
Milwaukee, WI


Steven B. Andreaus, D.D.S., P.A. -

Good Afternoon Tracey,
Great question. Your son is developing rapidly and action should be considered ASAP.  Getting a 2nd or 3rd opinions is always a good idea.
In order for us to be fair with one another I will ask for an opportunity to meet your son and complete a cursory exam.  Please call Mel or Angie to schedule ASAP - 866-867-2081
I look forward to meeting you both.

--Steven B. Andreaus, D.D.S., P.A.
Raleigh, NC


Stuart Dropkin, DMD -

You describe your son's problem as an underbite and that you received a treatment recommendation from the orthodontist for orthognathic surgery.
It is difficult to recommend any treatment without examining your son.
Your first option is to do nothing and allow your son to live his life with his overbite. If it remains a problem for himself as an adult, the orthognathic surgery could be accomplished later in life and it is most desirable to wait until his growth has completed.
There are some orthodontic technics that help some patients to stimulate growth of the lower jaw and can compensate for the overbite now, especially if your son still has a growth spurt or two in his future, so maybe a second opinion by a different orthodontist is not out of the question.

--Stuart Dropkin, DMD
Winter Park, FL


David Austin, DDS -

Hi Tracey,
Depending of the severity of the underbite, fracturing and re setting the jaw is often the only way to establish a straight profile and a balanced bite relationship.  However caution must be exercised with young men whose lower face and jaws can continue to grow well into the late teens.  Any correction done before growth has stopped would be unstable and would potentially need to be done again.

--David Austin, DDS
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