How Much Does Underbite Surgery Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 15, 2018

Underbite surgery is a corrective surgery that fixes an underbite, medically referred to as a prognathism.  The root of an underbite is when the lower part of the jaw is smaller than the upper part, causing the teeth to not line up as they should, and in most cases, an underbite will almost always be inherited.  If your parents had an underbite, then there’s a good chance you could be a candidate as well.  Instead, the lower teeth sit in front of the upper teeth.  Because of this, the jaw can be held in uncomfortable positions, which can cause a lot of pain, leading to this type of procedure.

Protraction facemask headgear - preparin by bracesparent, on Flickr
Protraction facemask headgear – preparin” (Public Domain) by bracesparent

How much does underbite surgery cost?

The cost of underbite surgery can be anywhere from $15,000 to as much as $35,000+ for the procedure.  However, keep in mind that underbite surgery will almost always be the last resort as there are always orthodontic appliances that can help resolve the issue for a fraction of the cost.  An upper jaw expander, for example, can cost $2,000 to $3,000, whereas a reverse-pull face mask, as we talk about in the next section, can cost about the same.  Other alternatives include a chin cap or related cosmetic options.  In the end, the costs really come down to the severity and which treatment option may create the results you want.  Adults, most of the time, will need surgery as this is the only option due to the fully developed bones, but in a child’s case, mild underbites can almost always be treated without any surgical procedures.

According to a detailed report on FatBrowne.com, someone claimed he paid a grand total of $24,000 for the entire procedure.  $9,900 went toward the orthodontist bill, another $7,400 to the treatments, and $2,000 for the hospital bill.

RealSelf.com shows a handful of people who have had the procedure done in the past, and most of them, according to the reports, had spent anywhere from $2,000 to as much as $50,000.

Underbite surgery overview

Several methods exist when taking care of an underbite, even without the need for surgery.  This can range from jaw surgery to an orthodontic-type appliance such as an upper-jaw expander, chin cap or a “reverse-pull” face mask.  An upper jaw extender is a wire-frame device that is customized to fit along the patient’s palate.  Each night, a special key will be used to widen the expander a tiny amount, gradually causing the jaw to widen until the lower teeth no longer closes against the outside of the upper teeth.  Most patients, again, depending on the situation, will wear this type of device for a year.  A chin cap will wrap around the chin and the top of the head to prevent the jaw from moving or growing.   A “reverse-pull” face mask, as the name applies, will be a face mask that wraps around the head and pulls the jaw back into the right position by using rubber bands that are attached to the back teeth.  Depending on the severity of the surgery and age of the patient, the right appliance, according to Colgate, can commonly resolve the issue, especially if the patient is younger.

In the case of extreme circumstances, then underbite correction surgery, as the estimates above imply, will separate the bone in the rear of the jaw from the front by modifying it.  This procedure will be done by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and if successful, the part of the jaw carrying the lower teeth can be positioned further back.  While each surgery will vary depending on the severity, most will work in the same way, divided into two parts.  The first part, which lasts 12 to 18 months, will require the patient to wear braces to correct the bite as much as possible.  After this time frame, the doctor may then decide to proceed with the procedure if the underbite hasn’t been corrected.

What are the extra costs?

General anesthesia during surgery, if it’s going to be charged separately, can run anywhere from $700 to $2,000, depending on the hospital’s billing policy.  See:  “How much does anesthesia cost?

On top of the surgery costs, you also need to factor in the cost of braces after the surgery has been performed.

If, by chance, you only need an appliance and no surgery, then there will still be costs to consider, even when you no longer need the appliance.  For instance, even after the upper jaw expander “fixes” your overbite, you will still need to wear a retainer after.  A retainer, depending if you have insurance or not, can cost $150 to $400.

Prescription medication, after the procedure, just like any other surgery, will be necessary for a few weeks.

Tips to know:

If you suspect your child has an underbite problem early on, have them examined as early as possible, especially if they are younger than seven years old.  By getting your child checked at an early age, many parents can save thousands of dollars by using preventable procedures rather than corrective surgery.

After the procedure has been performed, you will likely be on a fluid diet for a few days.  Stiffness and soreness, while normal, will likely last for up to a few weeks.  During this time, it will be best to rest and let everything heal – follow the doctor’s instructions for best results.

How can I save money?

Even if you have a dental insurance policy, you may find that you are going to still have to pay a lot out of pocket.  If this is the case, many orthodontist offices are more than happy to offer a payment plan that can extend more than five years for a lower interest rate.  If you are able to pay cash up front, you can probably get a significant cash discount as well. If you want to get a dental plan to help cover the costs, consider looking for plans for free on  eHealthInsurance.com.


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