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Overbite and small lower jaw

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Old 08-25-2006, 01:01 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 7
KayB HB User
Overbite and small lower jaw


I have an overbite I guess about half a thumb nail wide... It actually appears worse, or maybe that is really bad, I think it is...

I also have a small lower jaw... I have been jutting that lower jaw out since I was about 5 (I am 46) by the advice of my parents to make myself look better, but of course the fact remains that I have an overbite and when I eat and probably talk too one can tell...

Problem is, I have been relaxing it a bit over past 3.5 years and one day about a year ago I realized that the neck pain I have had since forever is probably due to me jutting out my lower jaw... and now that I am relaxing it the pain has decreased but, my looks are changing... my face adapted to how I was holding my jaw but now relaxed I am getting sagging around my mouth... I went to plastic surgeons and 2 have mentioned that this is a muscle issue...

I dont know that I do or do not have TMJ... I dont have any real issues with popping or anything... I do currently have a shoulder issue and have had this 3 times before but never thought it was related... I have also gone in from time to time to have adjustments done to my neck and I am able to do them to myself too...I see a doctor when something wont "work out"....

I have now been considering having my lower jaw corrected which will help save my looks but reading posts here for about 2 hours I think maybe that is not a very good idea... my sister in law had this done when very young and she has never had problems... a dentist suggested it to my dad when I was about 7 or 8 and he refused to ever have that done to me (an issue that I have been dealing with lately, that mom/dad neglected me by not doing that when I was young)...

I am concerned now too, after reading posts, that perhaps in future this jaw issue could cause problems so perhaps I ought to have this surgery done to prevent those problems... but I would not want to create them either...

I had 2 teeth pulled in front on top sides when about 15 for a "retainer" type of braces that did nothing really... I was told once by a dentist when about 25 that they could do something to help me out a bit without surgery but that was not very reassuring.... my bite is terrible plus I can see in pictures that my lower jaw is slightly crooked too...

Is there something that can be done to fix this lower jaw without surgery... I didnt read all the horror stories here but the one that was detailed was enough...I dont tolerate pain well but see here there may not be much of that but plenty of risks...and I really dont want to lose my looks to this problem... and I am really tired of holding my jaw like that all the time... I dread to think that if I live to be 86 i will be doing this for another 40 years....

Thank you for any help, guidance and words or wisdom

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Old 08-26-2006, 10:38 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Rockland County, NY
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Thelma-Louise HB UserThelma-Louise HB UserThelma-Louise HB User
Re: Overbite and small lower jaw

You are dealing with a very complex problem and decision - I know b/c I have gone through almost the exact same thing. I have always had an overbite and pushed my lower jaw forward when talking and smiling. So you are right to be hesitant about orthognathic surgery.

Orthognathic surgery can be done where instead of the entire jaw being broken near the ears and then moved forward the jaw is broken on either side of the chin and just the chin is moved forward. This will correct your profile but not affect your pushing your lower jaw forward and it should not affect your bite, however, it can also make a crooked lower jaw appear more so - this is what happened to me. I had an overbite, had braces and ended up with a receded chin - then had the chin augmentation surgery to make my face look better. Which it definitely did. It was done by a former dentist turned plastic surgeon so I figured he knew what he was talking about. Unfortunately, 15 years later I now have severe tmd - the term usually used to describe tmj symptoms resulting from muscular problems.

As you probably know the jaw and neck work very closely together and when they don't, tmj symptoms (jaw/muscle dysfunction, facial pain, etc.) as well as upper cervical spine (neck, shoulder, etc) problems can develop. The problem really comes from the length of your upper jaw and the length of your lower jaw and the position or location of the tm joints near the temples. When this relationship is not correct it strains the upper cervical vertebrae, mainly the C1 or atlas - which is the vertebrae the head rests on and is balanced on and can cause it to slightly mis-align - probably the reason you have the neck and shoulder problems.

The only non-surgical procedures I know of to correct a jaw that is too far back is the use of repositioning splints or orthodontia. These procedures will also change your bite. But if its not comfortable to begin with this might be the way to go. Again this is tricky b/c changing the jaw position will also affect the upper cervical spine. And as you rightly question - will this cause even more problems down the road. I have been wondering this myself - if perhaps the braces and chin augmentation did not cause the tmd I now have.

You need to find a very experienced dr trained in this area - either a tmj specialist, or oral surgeon or orthodontist who specializes in tmj. Some oral surgeons actually do the chin augmentation procedure as well - I believe that is where it originated from and plastic surgeons just picked up on it for the cosmetic benefits. Go for several consulations with different drs - you will be amazed at the varied recommendations you will get. Make sure you explain the position you have been keeping your lower jaw in so they fully understand what the issue is and that this is not purely a cosmetic issue of making your face look better. They need to determine if your jaw is actually too far back or if this is something you do just for appearance sakes.

I know my response is long and probably convoluded - your thread hit a nerve with me b/c of what I have been through - I just don't want anyone to go through the kind of suffering I have had the past 2 years. Hope this helped - even if just a tiny bit.

Old 08-28-2006, 05:45 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 6
Oneguy HB User
Re: Overbite and small lower jaw

Originally Posted by Thelma-Louise
Orthognathic surgery can be done where instead of the entire jaw being broken near the ears and then moved forward the jaw is broken on either side of the chin and just the chin is moved forward...
Are you talking about sliding genioplasty where the chin bone is cut and slided forward to make the facial profile look better? OR is that another type of surgery? My understanding is that Orthognathic surgery involves moving the entire lower jaw forward, but that would mess up the bite. I didn't know they can also break the jaw on both side of the chin. If so, isn't that known as sliding genioplasty? I have a retrusive chin, but I have a reasonably good bite. Does that mean Orthognatic surgery is out of the question because it can mess up my good bite? It seems there are many way of correcting the problem. Chin implant is another solution, but it has its down fall too. I guess I've been agonizing over which solution is the best for me.

Old 08-29-2006, 04:13 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Rockland County, NY
Posts: 3,232
Thelma-Louise HB UserThelma-Louise HB UserThelma-Louise HB User
Re: Overbite and small lower jaw

I'm not sure since the dr who did it did not refer to it that way - he called it chin augmentation. On dental xrays you can see some wires that run below my bottom front teeth area under the the bone but above my chin. Other drs that have reviewed my xrays have referred to it as orthognathic surgery. I know I did not get a chin implant - my natural chin was kept. If they move the entire lower jaw yuor bite will change - it has to b/c the upper and lower teeth will meet differently. Not neccessarily for the worse - for some it can actually make them fit better. But I have to admit some of the posts here suggest with orthognathic surgery orthodontia usually follows.

Old 10-14-2008, 02:40 AM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 1
rainmaker77 HB User
Question Re: Overbite and small lower jaw

Does anyone know of a good maxillofacial surgeon or any other surgeon who performs sliding genioplasty in Sydney, Australia?

Please help.

Old 03-10-2010, 06:50 AM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1
igt500 HB User
Re: Overbite and small lower jaw

Hi KayB and others,

I am also facing the same dilemma of having a small lower jaw and an overbite of aprox 10mm.. and not knowing if a chin implant alone would improve my appearance or would jaw surgery be a better option.

Wondering if this thread still alive..?

Thank you

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