Cosmetic dentistry: Fixing Malocclusion underbite or overbite
A misaligned bite, clinically referred to as a Malocclusion in addition to being unsightly, can cause challenges to an everyday quality of life, such as making chewing or speaking difficult, causing damage to the gums and jaw, or even disrupting sleeping and breathing.
An overbite is when the top row of teeth extend too far over and an underbite is when the bottom row of teeth extend past the top row (even if the bottom row of teeth rest right underneath the top row, it is considered an underbite, as the top row should always be slightly over).
How can you go about correcting your misaligned teeth (or what is known as “malocclusion”). On the least invasive side of the spectrum are traditional braces, which an orthodontist can handle, to straighten crooked teeth and realign the bite.
Braces or Invisalign cost between $3,000 and $7,000, depending on the kind you get. Check your dental insurance plan to see if it covers orthodontic treatment, partially or fully.
Next, if there is overcrowding of the teeth that is causing abnormal alignment, then removing a tooth is an option that a dentist or oral surgeon can perform. It’s even possible for them to “shave” down the side of a tooth to create more space, if it is a minor problem, making total removal unnecessary.
Finally, the most dramatic option would be to have corrective jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery. This surgery involves cutting one or both of the jaws and repositioning them with plates and screws. In most cases, the patient will wear braces for about a year leading up to the surgery.
Not only will your oral health and bite be corrected, but the shape of your face will assume a more natural appearance (some people will have this particular surgery for the cosmetic purpose of re-shaping their chin).
When patients correct their misaligned teeth, less plaque gets lodged between them and they have a healthy overall mouth. Nicely shaped, polished teeth still have to be cared for, but when the patient comes in for a routine visit, the difference is obvious in the amount of plaque and tartar that’s removed. Dr. George Saliba – Our consulting cosmetic dentist and member of the CosmeticLocal community.
The cost of this surgery can vary wildly, depending on what your insurance covers (if it is a necessary or elective surgery), and factoring in all of the initial consultations, possible braces beforehand, and the actual surgeon’s fee. A ballpark figure for everything would be $20,000 – $30,000.