Orthodontic treatment is a type of dental care that focuses on correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. One common problem that orthodontists often encounter is class 2 malocclusion, which refers to a condition in which the upper teeth protrude significantly beyond the lower teeth. This can result in an excessive overjet, or the horizontal distance between the upper and lower front teeth, and an excessive overbite, or the vertical overlap of the upper front teeth over the lower front teeth.
Patients with class 2 malocclusion often also have mandibular retrognathia, which is a condition in which the lower jaw is underdeveloped or recessed compared to the upper jaw. This can result in a variety of problems, including difficulty biting and chewing, speech impairments, airway disturbances, and facial asymmetry.
Orthodontists have several treatment options available to address class 2 malocclusion, excessive overjets, and overbites in patients with mandibular retrognathia. These options may include:
- Braces: Traditional metal braces are a common treatment option for patients with class 2 malocclusion. The braces apply gentle pressure to the teeth to gradually move them into their correct positions. Braces are generally paired with orthodontic elastics which help to align your bite into an ideal position. Elastics are placed onto the brackets themselves by the patient themselves. Elastic rubber bands help align your bite and are very important for the bite-fixing phase of orthodontic treatment, which is usually the longest and most difficult part of the whole process.
- Herbst Appliance: A Herbst appliance is an orthodontic device that helps align the upper and lower jaws, correcting bite discrepancies such as an excessive overjet and/or overbite. If your child is suffering from an excessive overjet or overbite, this functional appliance works 24 hours a day to influence jaw growth and improve the position of a recessed lower jaw.
- Headgear: Headgear is a type of orthodontic appliance that is worn on the head and attached to the braces. It helps to correct overbites by applying pressure to the upper jaw to encourage it to grow forward.
- Invisalign Mandibular Advancement: Invisalign treatment with mandibular advancement is meant for tweens and teens presenting with retrognathic Class II malocclusions in permanent dentition or stable late mixed dentition. The special feature of enhanced precision wings for Invisalign treatment with mandibular advancement are integrated into the Invisalign aligners.
- Removable appliances: Removable appliances, such as aligners or clear plastic retainers, can be worn to gently move the teeth into their correct positions. These appliances are often used in conjunction with braces to achieve optimal results.
- Surgery: In severe cases of mandibular retrognathia, surgery may be necessary to correct the position of the lower jaw. This type of procedure is typically reserved for patients who have not responded to other treatment options or have severe jaw deformities.
Regardless of the treatment option chosen, it is important for patients to follow their orthodontist's instructions and attend all scheduled appointments in order to achieve the best possible results. With proper treatment, patients with class 2 malocclusion, overjets, overbites, and mandibular retrognathia can achieve a more functional and aesthetically pleasing smile.
NOTE: The author, Dr. Graydon Carr, is a board-certified orthodontist who is in the private practice of orthodontics in Chico, California with his partner Dr. B. Scott Hood. Dr. Graydon Carr was trained at the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, California, and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas School of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. Dr. Graydon Carr & Dr. B. Scott Hood’s are experts in two-phase treatment, extraction and non-extraction therapy, functional orthodontics, clear aligners (Invisalign), and multiple bracket systems. This blog is for informational purposes only and is designed to help consumers understand currently accepted orthodontic concepts. It is not a venue for debating alternative treatment theories. Dr. B. Scott Hood & Dr. Graydon Carr are licensed to diagnose and treat patients in the state of California. They cannot diagnose cases described in comments nor can they select treatment plans for readers. The opinions expressed here are protected by copyright laws and can only be used with written permission from the author.