Can I Get Maxillary Setback Surgery For An Overbite?

Q: Dr. Eppley, Thank You so much for your time and your quick response to my questions about maxillary setback surgery. Would there be any possible alternative to the use of orthodontics which I’m hesitant of because of my age? (65 years old0 Perhaps wiring the mouth shut post surgery for a longer than normal period of time?

One reason I chose to contact you is because I could see from your website your practice  seems unique in that you do a wide variety of plastic surgeries and are involved with developing research and studying the latest techniques while at the same time you have a of experience in maxillofacial surgery as well. When searching for a doctor I had originally thought of those with practices limited to oral and maxillofacial surgery but I felt led to contact you when I saw your website. I have contacted no other physician as I am praying you can help me.

I know you have to be incredibly busy but I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me a few minutes of examination time and take a chance on me. Thanking you again so much for getting back to me.

A: In traditional jaw surgery the key element is how the teeth will fit together when one or both bony jaws are moved. That is the actual purpose of orthodontics…to get the teeth aligned for their new jaw position and to correct any malocclusion or dental aligment issues that result afterwards. So keeping the jaws more immobilized (wired together) is not a solution for overcoming malocculsion issues that may be created by any jaw movement issues.

At 65 years old it is perfectly understandable, however, that orthodontics in not in your ‘future’ and is not the best from either a periodontal/root resorption issue or the time involved to do so. Thus an alternative approach must be looked at and there are viable options based on the exact nature of your overbite/upper jaw problem. A premaxillary setback (with premolar tooth extraction) is an option that would allow the upper teeth in the front (incisors and canine) to be moved back into the premolar extraction defect. This would also allow your existing molar occlusion to remain as it is which is critically important for eating. This is also a less extensive procedure than a complete maxillary setback and allows more setback movement anyway.

The way for me to know the feasibility of a premaillary setback is to see you and analyze your dental models and x-rays. All I need is for your dentist to make simple stone dental models and a panorex x-rays. (which most dentists can easily do) Looking at you in person with that information will answer the question if this will work for you

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana