What are the Treatment Options in the Case of the Underbite?
A smile not only increases your self-confidence, but can also significantly improve your quality of life. However, dental problems that affect the alignment of your jaw and teeth can cause your self-confidence to break.
The condition where the lower jaw is anterior (underbite) is also such a dental disease. In this article, we will examine the causes of this ailment and how it can be corrected.
What is Underbite?
Underbite is a misalignment of the jaw that causes the lower teeth to protrude beyond the upper teeth. Underbite, also known as malocclusion or reverse bite, affects only 5% to 10% of the population, unlike the more common protruding bite, colloquially referred to as “overbite.” They vary in severity, from mild cases that are barely noticeable to cases where the lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw.
While it is possible to live with a mild under-dental bite, more severe cases can lead to more serious problems. These are difficulties in speaking, biting and chewing, pain and discomfort in the mouth and jaw, and excessive tooth wear. Some bites can damage tooth enamel and increase the chance of breaking the front teeth.
The good news is that orthodontic treatment is very effective for correcting the lower bite, and in most cases, underbite can be corrected without surgery.
Causes of underbite can vary and may include:
.Genetics: Did you know that underbites are most commonly inherited? Genetics helps determine the shape and size of your teeth and jaw; this means that overcrowded teeth or a misaligned jaw are likely inherited from other family members. If your underbite is due to genetics, prevention is usually not possible.
.Injury: Serious facial injuries can cause permanent damage to the jaw. While it is possible to surgically repair broken jawbones, the teeth may not always align after surgery. This could potentially lead to an underbite.
.Tumors: Although extremely rare, tumors of the mouth or jawbone can affect the growth or alignment of the jaw, causing an underbite.
Can 20 Year Teeth Cause Underbite?
In a word, No! Underbite (and overbite) is most commonly caused by genetic misalignment of the jaw, meaning your wisdom teeth aren’t causing poor bite.
At What Age Should You Check for and Fix an Underbite?
The sooner the better. In many cases, orthodontic treatment to correct underbite should be started in childhood, when the jawbones are still flexible and may be more difficult to align. Early diagnosis with a specialist orthodontist can provide the appropriate information and the best advice for managing an underbite problem.
Can Braces Fix Underbite?
Yes, braces or clear aligners can be an effective treatment for underbite, especially in milder cases. An orthodontist can provide an accurate diagnosis and then determine the appropriate treatment options for your individual situation. The severity of the diagnosed underbite will directly affect treatment recommendations. Therefore, it is vital to consult a qualified orthodontist, as a misdiagnosis often leads to incomplete or ineffective treatment.
Underbite Correction Methods
Treatment methods depend on the age of the patient and the severity of the dentition, but in most cases, mild to moderate occlusions can be corrected without surgery. The most common methods for fixing an underbite are:
.A maxilla expander: This may be recommended if the width of the maxilla is also small. The maxillary expander, placed on the patient’s palate, works by gradually expanding the jaw to better match the lower teeth with the upper teeth.
.Reverse pull head: This type of head can be used to pull the upper jaw forward and works more effectively in patients under 10 years old.
.Braces or clear aligners: Suitable for both children and adults, braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign can be an effective treatment for underbite, especially if orthodontic elastics are used.
.Tooth extraction: When appropriate, carefully selected tooth extraction can help correct inadequate bite in mild to moderate cases.
.Surgery: Adults with severe underbite may require orthognathic jaw surgery to align the upper and lower jaws to their ideal positions. Surgery is generally considered very predictable and low risk. Where appropriate, referral to a maxillofacial surgeon will be provided by your specialist orthodontist. The key to properly and effectively managing underbites is early detection by a knowledgeable specialist orthodontist.