Non-Braces Overbite Correction
July 24, 2006 5:24 PM   Subscribe

What are some non-braces alternatives for correcting an overbite?

I read the other questions posted on MeFi, but this is a different case because the primary objective is overbite correction as opposed to the straightening of teeth (had this fixed in high school with retainers, refused to get braces, hence the remaining overbite).

A little background, I'm a college student, open to headgear or anything of that sort, basically, anything but braces that will correct this, DIY remedies will not be ruled out outright. Thanks guys.
posted by adamdrici to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
I had a retainer to help correct my overbite. I stuck the retainer onto my top teeth. Then there was a little ridge in the bottom into which I inserted my bottom teeth. It works by pulling your lower jaw forward. It sucked, but I'm glad I had it. Sorry I don't recall the details but I wore it day and night for a year or two in fifth and sixth grade.

Caveat: I am not an orthodontist, a retainer may not be an appropriate solution for your overbite, this may not work on adults, YMMV, etc.
posted by crazycanuck at 5:41 PM on July 24, 2006

I had a Herbst Appliance to fix a major overbite.

it was coupled with a Jaw Expander at the top to widen the upper palate as well.

I wasn't a huge fan as I was 12 or 13 when I had it and kids were kinda cruel.
posted by Lord_Pall at 5:41 PM on July 24, 2006

I had something called a "bionator" (not sure about the spelling) to fix an underbite. I don't know if the same thing would work for an overbite.
posted by srah at 5:55 PM on July 24, 2006

Not to rain on your parade, but most orthodontic appliances are designed to fix an overbite work with braces, not on their own. Even surgery requires a couple of years in braces.

Additionally, orthodontic appliances are designed to change the direction in which the bones and roots grow. Once you hit adulthood, there's no growing left, and these applicances become next to useless. The only real solution is to move the root, which is where braces come in.

Why the aversion to braces? If it's cosmetic (which I'm guessing not if you're willing to do the headgear thing), there are clear braces that are pratically invisible, as well as lingual braces that go on the inside of your teeth and hence aren't seen.

If you're looking for a solution that works faster than braces, about the only thing I can think of is IIRC, they use a combination of surgery and a shorter period in braces. They aren't entirely supported by the traditional orthodontic industry, but might be worth a look.

Also - how big of a overbite? A couple of mm is normal, just so you know.

A lot has changed since you were 12 with orthodontics, so it might be worth just getting a consult with an orthodontist anyway - they're usually free (at least in Canada).

I highly recommend, which is a wonderful site for adults with braces. However, if you're that opposed to them, it might not be for you. There's still quite a bit of info there however, as well an a very supportive forum.

Please, please don't try go the DIY route. As unhappy as you are with your teeth now, you'll be miserable without them. Braces are much preferable to dentures.
posted by cgg at 6:21 PM on July 24, 2006

Fixed Wilkodontics link
posted by cgg at 6:22 PM on July 24, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for your responses. My reasons for wanting my overbite corrected are purely cosmetic (cgg, I meant that I am not averse to headgear worn at night, sorry). It seems that any viable solutions necessitate some kind of braces, which doesn't quite jibe with my vanity.
posted by adamdrici at 7:08 PM on July 24, 2006

Just push your buck teeth back with your thumb for a few hours a day, while your watching TV. That's what the dentist used to tell my mom when I was a kid, at least.
posted by Chuckles at 7:13 PM on July 24, 2006

yikes! bionator. i had one of those too. IT SUCKED.

for the life of me i could never figure out how it could possibly work, as all it did was force my jaw into a particular position. to correct an overbite it always seemed to me that the angle of my jaw would have to change. the first one i had had impressions of the teeth, so it might have had a chance of moving the teeth around, but the 2nd one just had a smooth ridge and did nothing more than restrict my tongue.

i asked my adult dentist about it and he had never heard of it, but disclaimed that he was not an orthodontist.

i did some googling recently and the bionator (also maybe called a bio-block) seems to me to be snake oil. its too bad my parents spent so much money on it. needless to say i still have an overbite. nothing serious though :)
posted by joeblough at 8:48 PM on July 24, 2006

The bionator works. I had to wear one for over a year when I was 11/12. Honestly, I'm not quite sure -how- it works, either, other than simply stretching the lower jaw muscles and making it habitual to keep your jaw in a specific position. I do know, however, that I went from being able to stick two fingers between my upper and lower teeth while biting down to having a normal overbite of a millimeter or so - just enough to scissor properly.

That said, the bionator also -sucks-, big-time, as has been said, at least when you have to wear it 24/7. It made speaking incredibly difficult and lisped, and had to be taken out to eat, obviously. And it was expensive. Which made it all the worse when I wrapped it in a napkin one day at school while eating lunch and accidentally threw it away... My parents literally went through the school dumpsters to find it. (And did!)
posted by po at 10:39 PM on July 24, 2006

You may not like the look of yourself in braces, but others won't care. One co-worker didn't realize I had metal in my mouth till a couple of months had gone by. It's been almost ten months now that I've had braces (I'm 24), and I hardly give them a second thought. I don't get comments about them from others, and I certainly don't bring up the subject either. I wish I wasn't going through this whole braces thing as an adult, but I just look at the progress my teeth have made so far, and it's worth it.
posted by quoththeraven at 11:33 PM on July 24, 2006

Since you are fairly old I'm not sure anything but surgery on your lower jaw will help, but I'm not a orthodontist.

I had braces and appliances for years, my teeth turned out perfect but I still had an overbite despite my orthodontists best efforts. So as a last resort I had lower jaw surgery to align my bite. Worked out perfectly but I had my jaw wired shut for 6 weeks or so and had a mild infection so I had to take the worst tasting antibiotics.
posted by robofunk at 11:38 PM on July 24, 2006

According to their website, Invisalign will fix overbites. Maybe that will work for you? They're not cheap, but I think they're comparable to braces in cost. At least, I think they're comparable to the clear or ligual braces. May be more expensive than the normal front-of-the-teeth metal braces. I also think you'd need to wear them longer than braces. But anyway, they meet the desire for a non-braces solution to fix the overbite.
posted by bDiddy at 7:52 AM on July 25, 2006

FYI...I've actually had two orthodontists tell me it's not possible to fix an overbite with Invisalign and that the claims are bogus.
posted by echo0720 at 11:09 AM on July 25, 2006

Invisalign -can't- fix an overbite. The way braces fix overbites is through the use of rubber bands attached to the brackets, spanning from the upper teeth to the lower teeth. If these are placed correctly, it effectively puts your jaw in traction. These cannot be attached to the smooth, clear surface of Invisalign braces, so I don't know where they're coming up with the idea that they can fix overbites - unless it's an underhanded marketing claim based on one specific instance where, perhaps, the positioning of the teeth themselves, rather than the jaw, was causing an overbite, and fixing this (through Invisalign) diminished or eliminated the overbite. But somehow I doubt it'd work that way for most normal people.
posted by po at 1:58 PM on July 25, 2006

The reason for the inconsistent answers is the vague definition of the term overbite.

Here, the dentist says "some overbite is normal", but here they say that overbite indicates a class II malocclusion, and requires jaw alignment.
posted by Chuckles at 2:36 PM on July 25, 2006

OMFG that 2nd link is the Big Book Of British Smiles writ large!

anyway according to that chart, overbite is what i've got. there is no front-to-back space when my mouth is closed, but the cutting edges of my top teeth are aligned with the gumline of my bottom teeth.


who knows, maybe it helped a little, but in order for my molars to make contact with each other when my front teeth are touching normally, the angle of my lower jaw would have to change quite a bit.
posted by joeblough at 10:11 PM on July 28, 2006

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