Published: 30th June 2010
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People have many types of dental smile, be they beautiful or ugly there are many types in the dental spectrum. Most fall within the normal ranges, but some will fall outside the spectrum and are called malocclusions.

In this article, Dr Raj Kumar will try to explain what dental malocclusions are, how you get them and how to get them treated.

He has over 15 years of cosmetic dental experience and is well versed in treatments that are tried and tested. He will give an unbiased view on how Invisalign can help in most orthodontic problems with before and after examples.

Don't call me an over bite! I' m an over jet!!

In a normal bite the upper and lower teeth are usually close to each other and with about 2-4mm of vertical overlap. The vertical overlap is called overbite and the amount the teeth stick out horizontally is called an overjet.

The overjet is usually anything that is greater than 4mm which would require treating. The teeth may look fine from the front but it's the side view that is most obvious.

How did I get an overjet?

There are many reasons and I have listed most:

1 Patient may have been a digit sucker as a child. The thumb or finger prevents the teeth from developing and meeting together; this is termed a tooth discrepancy

2 Having a dummy in the mouth for prolonged periods as a child can cause an overjet

3 The action of digit sucking can prevent the lower jaw from growing forwards and also push the upper jaw up and forward instead; this is termed a jaw discrepancy

4 The afflicted may be called Goofy, Duck face, Chinless wonder etc

5 Chewing on a pen/nails as an adult can also create a small overjet

6 Where there is a jaw discrepancy the teeth can only be pulled together so much. Sometimes jaw repositioning surgery is needed

7 Sometimes you can inherit the flared teeth from your family

8 Sometimes the jaw discrepancy is also inherited

9 Tongue thrust can also cause the teeth to be pushed outwards

10 The side and back teeth can collapse inwards towards the tongue, even after orthodontic treatment and push the front teeth outwards

My dentist told me that I need my jaw broken and reset to correct my overjet

Patients with extreme overjets greater than 10mm/1 cm may have a situation where the lower jaw is set back and their side profile is not great.

The jaw difference can be corrected once the teeth are pulled inwards but most patients do not opt for surgery. The lower jaw is broken and then positioned forward to meet the upper jaw. The jaws are splinted with metal braces for about 6 weeks whilst the jaw sets.

This is an extreme treatment and is not recommended except in extreme cases where the facial appearance is obvious.

Most patients have full lower lips that mask the lower jaw position. Most patients are happy just top get straight teeth instead.

Will Invisalign help me?

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment and will help reduce the overjet. In cases of extreme overjet it is recommended that you get help from a very experienced Invisalign dentist.

The teeth are gently pulled inwards to meet the lower teeth. It is possible that the lower teeth may also need correcting before the overjet can be reduced.

I regularly treat patients with very large overjets (12mm) and find no problems with Invisalign. It takes about 15 months but the results speak for themselves.

Having a large overjet should not stop you living a happy life. But if it gets on your nerves then Invisalign can definitely help. Be prepared for about 12 months of treatment, but what is 1 year out of a lifetime of happiness?

Video Source: Youtube

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