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How to Fix an Underbite

By November 7, 2022 February 2nd, 2023 No Comments
two people looking at the x ray on the monitor screen

An underbite is a common condition in children, teens, and adults. It is a type of misalignment that affects the lower jaw. Such a condition will negatively impact your self-esteem as this condition is not attractive.

How to fix an underbite? Don’t let underbite stop you from smiling. You can correct this condition by doing a tooth extraction, use of porcelain veneers, wearing braces and Invisalign aligners, use of upper jaw expander, and undergoing jaw surgery.

Continue reading the article to learn more.

What is an Underbite?

This is a dental problem that is characterized by lower teeth extending outward farther than the upper teeth. Another name for underbite is Class III malocclusion or prognathism.

It occurs when a person’s lower jaw extends farther out than the upper jaw.

This results in a protruding lower jaw. This condition is often genetic. You are likely to develop mild or severe underbite if one of your family members has it.  This is because genetics define how a jaw will be formed.

Malocclusion or prognathism not only spoils the appearance of your face but leads to other health problems such as challenges with speaking, mouth and face pain, and difficulties in eating food.

Proper alignment of teeth keeps you from biting your tongue, lips, and cheeks. That’s why it is crucial to visit the dental care clinic and seek the best dental treatment options such as braces, and surgery so as to get rid of all these problems.

What Causes an Underbite or Lower Jaw Protrusion

Tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, underbites, canker sores, and toothaches are the most common dental problems. The good news is, all these problems, (except for genetic bite) can easily be prevented if you know their origin.

Underbite causes range from bad childhood habits to genetics.  These 2 are the primary cause of underbites.

Genetics

Oftentimes, malocclusion runs in the family. If one of your parents has a bite, there are high chances that your child might develop it as well. This means that nothing external caused the misalignment of your teeth.  Many people who have malocclusion were born this way with their lower jaw extending far forward.

If you are born with a bad bite, abnormally shaped teeth, or teeth very close to each other, do not worry because there are treatments for these dental cases. The first step on the road to recovery is to book an appointment in a cosmetic dentistry office or dental care clinic.

a woman at her dental exam

An orthodontist or a dentist will advise on the best treatment for the alignment of your teeth or jaw.

That is if you are seeking perfectly aligned teeth or want to maintain a beautiful smile.

Bad Childhood Habits Cause Lower Teeth to Extend far Forward

Stop your children from prolonged thumb sucking, chewing on pencils, and use of pacifiers as these habits may cause mild or severe underbite and the mouth may be damaged in the process. According to this study, these objects put pressure on the lower front teeth pushing them forward.

Thumb Sucking

This habit puts pressure on lower teeth causing them to slant. If this habit continues for too long, it may cause other damage to your child’s teeth. It will affect the growth of the roof mouth or even cause an overbite.

Discourage this behavior especially if your child is an aggressive thumb-sucker. I would also recommend taking your child to a dentist or orthodontist to have their upper teeth, tooth enamel, and both jaws checked for signs of concern.

closeup of a kid's mouth with thumb in it

How to Fix an Underbite?

If you are currently trying to figure out what to do about your problem, then this section will be of great help to you.

Treatment options for an underbite range from cosmetic surgery, reverse pull face mask, use of Invisalign, expander, underbite braces, wraps around the child’s head, veneers, to just name a few.

The first step to correct underbite is to visit health professionals such as orthodontists or dentists who will thoroughly examine the lower jaw, affected tooth, upper jaw, chin, etc. to determine the best underbite correction treatment for you.

Do I Need Underbite Correction?

Patients need underbite correction of teeth if it leads to additional complications.

Many people believe that underbites are simply cosmetic dental issues but they are not. If left untreated, malocclusions may cause a facial abnormality, resulting in an extended chin. Other complications of this condition include:

  • Chronic pain
  • You risk developing gum diseases
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Dental problems such as toothache, and even cavities due to teeth misalignment
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder
  • You have sleep apnea-this is a serious sleep disorder. It is also linked to heavy snoring.
  • The malocclusion is affecting your self-esteem. See your orthodontist so he can give the best orthodontic treatment for you
  • You smile awkwardly
a woman holding hand on her cheek

Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery is also known as orthognathic. It corrects irregularities of the jawbones. Although going the surgical route or having surgery is a scary thing to do, it is the only way to correct a bite if it is severe.

Also, for proper alignment of underbite that is caused by jaw problems, jaw surgery is recommended

It is a quicker procedure compared to months of wearing braces. The first step to your treatment is booking an appointment in a dentistry office.

A dental staff or oral care surgeon, dentist, or orthodontist has the best education and experience to correct underbite surgically or bring the jaw back.   If you are considering this type of orthodontic treatment or surgery to improve the appearance of your teeth, it is worth noting that bone may be added or removed especially in severe cases.

Don’t worry, your oral health surgeon or orthodontist will let you know all the procedures in your surgery or surgical procedure.

Reverse Pull Face Mask

This is another orthodontic treatment to correct underbite cases. Although it is not popular for underbite correction like jaw surgery, use of braces and Invisalign, veneers, and expander, it is a very effective underbite correction method without surgery.

I would recommend this method for patients, who have severe or mild underbite plus those who have challenges of speaking and jaw pain because of this condition.  This orthodontic treatment works by increasing jaw mobility.

It is attached to the upper jaw and its main purpose is to drag it forward so as to correct an underbite.  Patients often wear it as a face mask. You need to know that this underbite treatment method is given without surgery.

Braces

Can you correct an underbite with braces? Yes, there are braces that are designed specifically to correct severe and mild underbite. These wire or plastic braces are able to move the affected tooth or teeth into their correct position/s.

I am so happy I corrected my condition without surgery! I chose clear braces that are less noticeable than the metal counterparts.

It is a standard option to realign your teeth or improve the appearance of underbites and you may use braces long-term since it does not have side effects.

Clear Aligners

I know that keeping your oral or dental health in check is your first priority, so it is understandable you are concerned about your teeth misalignment. Improve the appearance of an underbite without surgery with clear aligners such as Invisalign.

Invisalign devices work the same way as braces but do not use wires. They correct the position of teeth. Usually, clear, smooth, and durable plastic is molded into an aligner to fit on your teeth.

An Orthodontist or a dentist may make a custom made for your child’s mouth. I like it because a lot of people may not notice that you are wearing one plus you can remove it when eating.  It is definitely one of the best ways of underbite correction without surgery or surgical procedure.

clear aligners on the white background

Tooth Extraction

If you have any protruding teeth on your lower jaw, the best way to correct underbite is by having a tooth extraction. This method eliminates the need for jaw surgery in some patients.

Cost of Underbite Correction

The cost of correcting this condition depends on several factors such as the method used, the experience of an orthodontist, and if you are covered by health insurance or not.  Braces are affordable compared to having cosmetic surgery.

Patients who are covered by health insurance pay as little as $100 to $1000 for jaw surgery. Without insurance, it can cost you from $3000 to $10,000. It is an expensive procedure especially if you need correction on 2 jaws.

This procedure involved x-rays, bone reshaping, bone addition and even cutting, use of wires, screws so as to hold the chronic jaw in place or return it to the correct position.  It will take a few weeks to recover.

After the procedure, your chin should look normal but not larger.

a little girl visiting the dentist

What Age Should You Fix an Underbite?

Many health experts recommend early treatment of underbites. The earlier an underbite is addressed, the better. This is because the jaw is still developing hence can easily be manipulated.  Phase 1 treatment should begin at the ages of 7 and 10.

The jaws can be manipulated to allow the permanent teeth to erupt in a better position.

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