An underbite is a common orthodontic issue. When one or more of the teeth on the bottom jaw is in front of the teeth on the top jaw when you bite down, it is considered an underbite. Not only is an underbite an incorrect bite pattern, it sometimes affects the child's self-esteem. In severe cases, a child might develop a concave soft tissue profile because of the severe deficiency in the growth of the midface. An underbite that is left untreated can also damage the teeth and cause jaw pain. This is why an underbite should be corrected as soon as possible.
How can an underbite be fixed? Treatment for an underbite varies based on age and severity. It also varies by the cause of the underbite and whether it is dental or skeletal in origin. It may need to be addressed in a two-phase orthodontic treatment system, meaning initial treatment during childhood, and additional treatment in adolescence.
Orthodontic Treatment for Children with Underbite
An underbite will typically need interceptive orthodontics, meaning early treatment growth modifications (before adolescence). Interceptive orthodontics may include:
- Reverse Headgear. Used mainly if the underbite origin is in the bone such as deficiency in the growth of the upper jaw/midface. A reverse headgear is used in interceptive orthodontics to help the upper jaw to grow and to correct the bite and the soft tissue profile. The sooner the better A headgear is usually worn at night.
- Invisalign / Spark clear aligners. Clear aligners are an option to correct dental underbite and to develop narrow arches at the same time for kids, teens and adults.
- Braces. A child with an underbite may require braces at an earlier age, before reaching adolescence. Braces can help to reposition the teeth and reshape the jaw to correct an underbite.
Addressing orthodontic issues early, especially bite problems like an underbite, can help the teeth to stay in proper alignment as the child grows. Because children are still growing, it is easier to shift the teeth and align the jaws
Underbite Treatment for Adults
It is more difficult to treat an underbite in adults because the teeth and jaw are set in their current position and shape. Orthodontic treatment to correct an underbite in adults may include any of the following:
- Braces. Recommended as a starting point for correcting underbite. Braces may take longer for adults, but may still be an effective treatment. Rubber bands, or elastics, may be used in conjunction with braces to help realign the bite.
- Invisalign / Spark clear aligners. Using clear plastic aligners repositions the teeth to correct bite issues. For some patients, Invisalign and Spark may be effective at correcting a dental underbite, but some cases may be too severe. It is necessary to have an orthodontic evaluation first to determine if this treatment is the right choice for correcting an underbite as well as any other orthodontic issues that may be present.
- Jaw surgery. Some adults may require jaw surgery to correct an underbite. Surgery can make a more drastic change in the shape of the jaw that is more likely to effectively correct an underbite. In most cases it is recommended to get braces first to prepare for surgery, then keep them on for a few months after the surgery to ensure proper alignment.
Castle Hills 3D Orthodontics Provides Comprehensive Orthodontic Services
Whether you or your child has an underbite or other orthodontic concerns, it is important to have an evaluation. It is recommended that all children have an orthodontic evaluation by the time they are 7 years old to determine if there are any problems that should be addressed early. Starting orthodontic treatment at an early age can prevent or lessen the need for treatment later in life.
Castle Hills 3D Orthodontics provides a wide range of orthodontic services for patients of all ages. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have a happy, healthy smile.
Call 469-598-1700 today to schedule an evaluation or request an appointment. We look forward to transforming your smile.