What is an underbite and why underbite correction?
It is very possible to correct an underbite without having to go through the expense and pain of surgery. You can often correct it with braces or Invisalign. Some very mild cases can even be corrected via cosmetic dentistry using veneers. Surgery is only really necessary if you have a jawbone issue that requires correction. You will usually be able to fix underbite as long as that is the only issue in about a year. If you choose to use Invisalign, you must be diligent about wearing your retainers the necessary 22 hours a day.
Before we can really get started learning about underbite correction, we need to first learn what is an underbite and what causes it?
An underbite happens when your lower front teeth are outside the front upper teeth. It can result from a lower jaw that is too long or it can be caused by teeth that are not in the correct positions. The technical terms for underbite are class III malocclusion or prognathism.
It can be a problem because your teeth are not lined up properly and therefore your speech can be impacted. You may also feel self-conscious about your appearance. You may also find that you have jaw pain due to the way the jaw protrudes, and you may even have a hard time chewing, or you may bite your tongue more often. If left untreated, it can also lead to other oral health issues like:
- Breathing through the mouth
- Abnormal wear of the dental enamel
- Sleep apnea or snoring
- Gum disease
Your dentist or orthodontist can do a full exam and possibly take X-rays to determine the full extent of your underbite. The good news is it is very easy to correct most underbites.
So what causes an underbite? Many times it is genetic – thanks, mom and dad! But before you blame your parents, remember that it is usually an easily treated condition. What other causes are there?
- Using a pacifier
- Leaving a bottle in a baby’s mouth
- Constantly pushing your tongue against the teeth
What is the procedure for fixing an underbite?
Many times your orthodontist in Biscayne Park, FL 33161 can treat an underbite using braces or other orthodontic appliances that will help move the teeth into a more natural position, provided that the cause of the underbite is dental. These are the more mild cases.
There may be other tools at his or her disposal that can be used if the jaw itself is what is out of alignment. These can include elastics or a reverse pull face mask, which help bring the upper teeth forward to meet the lower ones.
Sometimes being able to remove a tooth or some teeth then using braces is what is needed. This is often done if there is an issue of teeth being overcrowded also.
The most drastic underbite treatment, but sometimes the only solution, is oral surgery, as we will learn about next.
What are the surgery risks for fixing an underbite?
This is major surgery, so using jaw surgery as an underbite correction method is not one to take lightly. You will have a portion of the jaw bone cut into by oral surgeons and a piece removed, then it will be put back together and wired in place until the bone can set. There may be some plates involved, and your jaw may be wired shut for a time.
As with any surgery, there is downtime during recovery and a risk of infection. You may have a reaction to the antibiotics you are given. You will also have a modified diet and activity level during recovery.
One other risk is that this is the most expensive option for underbite correction, but if it is the only way, especially for skeletal issues, you should know that it may be covered under your health insurance. Depending on your plan, your out-of-pocket expenses may be as little as $100 or as much as to $5,000 for high-deductible plans. Check with your insurance provider for what kind of coverage you might have. The total cost without insurance will run between $20,000 and $40,000.
What are the benefits of an underbite correction surgery?
The benefits are that you get an immediate change in your bite, and it is often the best way to correct the most significant underbites. It is also a long term permanent change, particularly in teens and adults who don’t have jaws that are rapidly growing anymore.
How to fix my underbite as a teenager?
If you partner with your orthodontist near me, you can find out the best method to fix an underbite as a teenager. Younger teens may benefit from reverse pull headgear or even a chin cap, while older ones are not as helped by these tools because their jawbone is more fully set. Typically teens are too old for an upper jaw expander because their bones are more set.
Braces are always a common method for underbite correction, regardless of age, particularly for a mild underbite.
Can braces fix underbites, why or why not?
The answer is yes! They can fix underbites. Braces work by gently moving your teeth into alignment with each other and correcting the dental arches. They are most effective with underbites caused by dental issues, but when used in conjunction with rubber bands they can also help align the jaws. They are slower than other methods, but after about two years, you will have not only correctly aligned jaws but you will also have straight teeth.
Invisalign underbite correction
If you have an underbite that is caused by teeth that are protruding or a minor jaw alignment issue, you may be able to treat it with Invisalign. The popular clear aligners are much more powerful than earlier iterations and they can treat crooked and misaligned teeth either by themselves or in conjunction with the Smartforce attachments that can apply a bit more pressure in strategic points. They can also be used after jaw surgery to fine-tune the alignment and make sure the teeth are properly aligned.
You will wear the trays for about two weeks and then get your next set of trays. If you are willing to wear them the necessary 22 hours a day, you can get your treatment done in as little as three months for minor cases, or one year for more significant ones.
Best underbite correction
The best underbite correction method is the one that is right for you. This will depend partly on your age, the severity of your underbite, and your budget. Your orthodontist will work with you to determine the right set of treatment options.
For children, a chin cap that helps stop the lower jaw from growing out too large is a great tool. It helps a lot during the rapid growth that occurs in youth. They also can have something called a palate expander that is fitted into the roof of the mouth and is adjusted periodically that will widen the upper jaw.
IVANOV Orthodontic Experts, 12866 Biscayne Blvd, North Miami, FL 33181
Call us at (786) 540-1919 to schedule a free orthodontic exam.
Learn more about Types of Dental Retainers to Wear After Braces at