Braces vs. Surgery: What's Better for Jaw Correction?Many patients who require dental orthodontics do so because of an overbite. There are various types of treatment options for overbites that exist. These options range from braces, tooth extraction, and jaw surgery. The least invasive and the most time consuming of these options is braces. The jaw surgery is the most invasive and involves a careful recovery. It is important to understand overbites to choose a treatment method for how the teeth and jaw can be corrected.

Types of overbites

There are two types of overbites; horizontal and vertical. Horizontal overbites involve teeth that go out in front of the bottom teeth. Vertical overbites involve the top teeth overlapping the bottom teeth. The two overbites can appear drastically different, but are both caused by dental or skeletal issues. When the overbite involves dental or teeth issues it means that the teeth are the issue that needs to be corrected. The skeletal overbite means that the jaw is the problem and needs to be corrected. The first step in determining whether you need braces or surgery is determining whether it is dental or skeletal. This can have an immense impact on the treatment path that is taken.

Why do we have overbites?

The most common reason an individual will develop an overbite is from it being hereditary. There are also other causes that many people do not think of. They can also stem from poor childhood habits that include prolonged thumb sucking, pacifier use, tongue thrusting, or nail biting. These habits can develop during our early development stages as children. This is the same time that the jaw begins to grow, which can cause unevenness and jaw issues. When the overbite has developed or formed completely it can cause many other issues. The position of the overbite can cause physical pain and limitations. Some of the physical limitations include: problems chewing and eating, jaw pain from strained muscles, speech impediments, lisps, cavities, gum disease, worn tooth enamel, soft tissue damage, and damage to the front teeth due to their position. It can also cause self esteem issues and make an individual self conscious if the jaw protrudes out. Self esteem issues can then continue into psychological problems. There are many treatment options that can be utilized for dental issues. The treatments typically include Invisalign or braces.


Invisalign is a great treatment option for those who do not want the appearance of having braces. Typically older individuals will opt for invisalign because it is transparent and not readily visible. The aligner shifts the teeth as a retainer would and is worn for at least twenty-two hours each day. The aligner will need to be changed every two weeks so that the teeth continue to shift into place and are corrected. The treatment process can take at up to one year to straighten the teeth. It can also assist with overbites to a certain point. If the overbite is not severe it can assist in correcting it. New precision cuts allow for rubber bands to be utilized as they are in typical braces. This can assist in treating advanced bite problems. The determination to utilize invisalign can be made after the teeth are fully examined. If the overbite is considered to be too severe, braces may be placed on the teeth to fix the overbite.


Braces are the most common treatment for overbites. They involve a two stage process, and the first step is to fasten the metal brackets on the teeth. The metal wire is used to straighten and align the teeth to where they need to be. The amount of time that it takes to make the teeth straight is dependent on each individual. This could take months or years depending on the severity. Once the teeth are straight the second step of the process can begin. The overbite can be fixed in stage two which involves adding the rubber bands, coils, and springs. Putting these in place will slowly shift the jaw line into place and move it to where it is suppose to be. This treatment plan can take many years to shift the jaw.

Invisalign versus braces

There are many benefits to both invisalign and braces. Invisalign can be removed from the teeth and taken off which makes the teeth very easy to clean. The teeth can be brushed and flossed as normal which can assist in good oral hygiene. Braces are not removed from the teeth which can make it challenging to clean the teeth thoroughly. Preventing tooth decay and gum problems can be a difficult with braces. A positive aspect of invisalign is that it is a transparent solution that others will not notice. Braces are visible because they are metal and involve rubber bands. Ceramic braces work the same way as metal braces, but the brackets are either clear, or match the color of the teeth. The cost of ceramic braces is much high than regular braces, but they are not as visible.

Tooth extraction

Tooth extractions are sometimes necessary depending on the spacing of the mouth. When more space is needed and the teeth are crowded some of them may need to be extracted. This allows the teeth that are being moved to have enough room to shift into the proper position. Once the extraction is completed the teeth can be shifted as normal with either invisalign or braces.


There are many times where invisalign and braces are unable to correct teeth and jaw problems. This is when skeletal issues occur and surgery is required to reposition the jaw. Surgery is often performed on adult patients because it is more difficult to shift their jaws after years of being in place. Children’s jaws are still soft and can easily be shifted as they are still developing. This is why many children and adolescents are seen wearing braces. Adults are more likely to undergo a jaw procedure.

Jaw surgery is usually performed inside of the mouth. This eliminates scaring on the exterior areas of the face including the jaw, chin, and around the mouth area. Orthognathic surgery will involve cuts being made in the jawbone. This allows the surgeon to position the jaw in the correct place to eliminate problems the patient is currently experiencing. Repositioning and properly aligning the jaw will be followed by screws and plates securing the jaw in the new potion. In some cases new bone may be needed to be added to the jaw. The bone and new jaw position will be secured temporary with wires.

There are many factors that will assist in determining how to correct your teeth and jaw. The age of the individual and the severity of the jaw issues can play the most important roles in making a determination. It is important to visit a orthodontist if you have developed jaw related issues that greatly affect your life. It is equally important to observe these issues in children who may not understand what is happening. Dr. Jamali and his staff can assist in making you pain free and on the way to a perfect mouth. Contact his office today at 212-480-2777 to schedule an appointment.