How to Correct an Underbite
Whether an individual notice it themselves or has it pointed out to them by an orthodontic or dental office, being faced with the need for teeth corrections caused by a severe underbite can cause people to worry. However, this need not be the case as underbite correction, underbite braces, underbite jaw surgery, and braces for underbites are all very common ways of helping when an individual wants to know how to fix an underbite. Sometimes individuals may even ask how to fix underbite naturally or if there is a way around underbite surgery?
Before we take a look at these questions, let’s find out from the experts, are poor bites or bad underbites really that important? The answers may surprise you.
Dental malocclusions compromise athletes’ performance (Souza L. A et al., 2011). You may wonder how that works, and it relates to balance and posture, and when those are improved, athletes do better.
Dentists and orthodontists can offer athletes improvement in their physical performance through the maintenance of good oral health and preventing poor bites (Souza L. A et al., 2011).
Molar relation (Angle’s classification); the presence of overbite; underbite; overcrowding; abnormal spacing; open bite; and anterior, posterior, bilateral and unilateral crossbite; midline deviation are problems facing many today (Souza L. A et al., 2011) and are all conditions that can be treated by your orthodontist.
As we can see, the medical community is quite clear that poor bites and underbites are a pretty serious problem depending on their severity. And that there are a wide variety of ways of helping to fix underbite issues. Your treatment plan will partly depend on what is causing your underbite. There are two major factors that can lead to an underbite. One is crowding teeth and/or a bad habit, and the other is called a skeletal underbite. Let’s take a look at these one at a time.
What is Underbite Jaw Surgery?
Skeletal underbite occurs when your jaw is actually longer than it should be natural to align properly with your teeth. This usually results in the most severe types of underbite and unfortunately is most often corrected with underbite jaw surgery. This will help your jaw to be placed back into its correct position and allow for a proper bite and ensure that your smile is beautiful. And while the idea of underbite surgery may be frightening to some individuals, the good news is that many individuals have an underbite that is simply not caused by a skeletal underbite.
How to fix an underbite
For these individuals, their underbite could be caused by a bad habit in younger life, such as excessive thumb sucking or pacifier sucking, or by teeth coming in improperly which can lead to an underbite as well. The good news is that both of these can reliably be treated without necessarily having to resort to surgery. So what are some of the options if your underbite is caused by one of these issues?
Reverse face masks are one option. These are kind of like a small version of headgear with a part that sits on the chin, one part that sits on the forehead, and a small metal bar that is clipped onto the top teeth. This helps pulls the top row of teeth forward to help meet the bottom teeth.
Another one of the best things to do is to simply stop whatever the habit is that is causing the underbite in the first place. If it is a habit you are doing that is causing the underbite, then ceasing your habit will stop any underbite problems from getting worse. If, however, it was caused by something like teeth coming in at a bad angle or improper tooth alignment then there are a wide variety of orthodontic options available to you to help correct this.
Some of the most popular are braces and Invisalign. Utilizing braces or Invisalign will help to pull your teeth into the correct position and by doing so can help get rid of any underbite issues. Of course like all orthodontist issues it is easiest to do this when the individual is younger.
Chin caps may be used in younger children as a way to help keep the lower jaw from growing faster than the upper jaw. This is another way to correct underbites without surgery.
Ideally, young teens are a perfect time to get an underbite corrected as the adult teeth are coming in. However, even if you are an older adult facing an underbite problem, this is still likely to be one of your best resources in fixing the problem without resorting to orthodontic surgery.
Occasionally, your orthodontic office may still recommend a more limited surgery such as tooth extraction that can help provide space for the other teeth to come in. If overcrowding is your issue and there is not enough space in your mouth for the teeth to be able to be pulled into the correct positions then removing a tooth or two it may allow space for all the other ones to become aligned properly. This can often be an issue for individuals who have their wisdom teeth left in as the wisdom teeth may well push other teeth forward and can sometimes lead to an underbite situation.
Pulling a few teeth is less invasive than full surgery, and your teeth may slowly move into their new places once they have room to do so.
Underbite surgery or braces for underbites
For adults, by and large, the most popular way of fixing an underbite problem that does not require surgery is most often to use braces or Invisalign. Invisalign is an invisible dental tray made of clear but sturdy plastic that is designed to clip over teeth and help pull them into the correct positions. If after meeting with your orthodontic office you learn that Invisalign is a good treatment option for you, then you can get your underbite issue treated without anybody even knowing you’re utilizing orthodontics.
In times past, the less conspicuous your orthodontics work was, the more expensive it became. Now, in modern times, with the advance of dental and orthodontic medicine treatments like Invisalign, you can get the care that is very nearly the same price as traditional braces. Invisalign has a superior aesthetic ability since it will not block your smile and nothing is permanently mounted to your teeth.
Braces are also frequently used to correct underbites because they can be permanently affixed to the teeth and work on pulling the lower jaw back into place all the time until their job is done and they can be removed. Your orthodontist will use a mix of brackets, wires, and bands to do the work. Over time, you will likely notice that your jaw does not hurt as much at the TMJ because you will have correct pressure on the joint.
How to Fix An Underbite Naturally
One thing you should know is that there really is not a way to correct an underbite naturally. You should always meet with a qualified orthodontist to fix an underbite. However with so much to gain with affordable nearly invisible orthodontics available, and an improved bite and beautiful smile awaiting at the end it is a little wonder why many individuals, teens, and adults alike, need to seek out their professional orthodontic office to get the beautiful smile that they deserve.
An underbite is a term for a dental condition that is characterized by an outward protrusion of the lower teeth. The lower jaw and teeth extend out farther than the upper jaw. This condition can also be called a Class III malocclusion as referred to by orthodontists.
One of the major problems that an underbite creates is a poor perception of one’s self, one’s appearance, and self-esteem. Some have described it as creating a bulldog-like appearance in the mouth and face.
In severe cases of underbite, the lower jaw and teeth extend very far forward and are highly noticeable. Some other people have milder cases which are almost unnoticeable.
If you have been referred by a dentist to an orthodontist because of your underbite, even if you think it is mild, you should take it seriously as it is more than simply an aesthetic issue.
There are many complications that can arise if a moderate to severe underbite is left untreated. They can affect one’s health and include:
- difficulty biting and chewing food
- challenges with speaking
- mouth and face pain due to misalignment of the jaw.
There are many things that can cause an underbite which include bad childhood habits like thumb sucking, long-term pacifier use, and bottle feeding. Other causes include genetics and trauma like a car accident.
Souza, L. A., Elmadjian, T. R., Brito e Dias, R., & Coto, N. P. (2011). Prevalence of malocclusions in the 13-20-year-old categories of football athletes. Brazilian oral research, 25(1), 19–22. https://doi.org/10.1590/s1806-83242011000100004