• Underbite

UNDERBITE

UNDERBITE: AN OVERVIEW

Underbite refers to when the lower teeth extend outward and forward than the upper teeth. This dental condition is usually hereditary. To prevent future problems, it is best to go for underbite correction.  The most common correction options for underbite are braces and surgery. There are other treatment options as well.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. What is an underbite?
  2. Is Underbite Correction necessary?
  3. Correction Options for Underbite
  4. Underbite and Cleft Lip and cleft palate
  5. Conclusion

WHAT IS AN UNDERBITE?

An underbite is a type of dental malocclusion which is characterised by the protruding of the lower jaw further than the upper jaw. This usually causes the sticking out of the lower front teeth. An underbite is prevalent among 5 to 10% of the world population. 

An underbite jaw is usually discreet in many people as the bottom teeth get to rest slightly in front of the upper teeth. However, a gap can be noticed between a set of teeth if the misalignment is severe. Regardless of the severity, it is best to opt for underbite correction to prevent future complications.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF UNDERBITE?

Genetics is the primary cause of underbite teeth; that is, if one of the parents has underbite teeth, there are higher chances of their children having it.

Cleft palates and lips are also significant causes of underbiteteeth.

Certain childhood behaviours result inunderbite; they include the following:

  • Tongue thrusting
  • Thumb sucking
  • Prolonged bottle-feeding.

IS UNDERBITE CORRECTION NECESSARY?

Early treatment for underbite is necessary, especially in children. There are several potential dental problems associated with an untreated underbite, including:

  • Increased chances of developing tooth decay
  • Difficulty in biting & chewing food.
  • Difficulty in speech articulation such as lisping and slurring
  • Cracked tooth
  • Abnormally shaped face.

CORRECTION OPTIONS FOR UNDERBITE

To get the most effective solution to underbite, two or more of the following treatments will be combined by your dentist:

UPPER JAW EXPANDER

This is useful in the cases of an underdeveloped upper jaw. An upper jaw expander is useful in helping the upper jaw to develop into the correct shape. The expander is a metal device that functions by gradually pushing the teeth, as well as expanding the palate. Some upper jaw expanders are fixed, while some are removable.

Upper jaw expander is one of the discreet underbite correction treatment; it is only visible when you yawn or laugh. Some persons who have used the upper jaw expander reported pain and discomfort during treatment. The device is usually used for a year or more, depending on the required teeth movement. After the completion of the treatment, the patient will be required to wear a retainer for a while to ensure the correction does not reverse.

Do ensure you meet an expert dentist for this procedure. Our dentists at Cosmetic Dentistry Clinic will be glad to proffer a suitable solution for your underbite.

REVERSE PULL FACE MASK OR HEADGEAR

The reverse pull face mask is not as scary as it sounds. It is a normal, effective way to correct an underbite. The headgear is usually placed on the forehead and chin; it is then attached to a retainer or braces using elastic bands. These bands will slowly pull the upper jaw into position.

Reverse pull headgear is about 75% effective in correcting underbite teeth. It is more effective if the treatment is started before age ten.

To ensure the treatment is effective, the headgear should be worn regularly; always at night and often during the day. Although wearing to social gatherings might be stigmatising, you need to follow your orthodontist instructions. You can as well as wear it while watching TV or doing your homework.

You can talk to our dentist on 020 71830755 in Harley Street, London, for more information about this treatment method and if it will be suitable for you.

CHIN CUP OR CAP

The chin cup or cap is fitted over the head from the crown to the chin. This device is designed to reduce lower jaw growth effectively. It functions by pulling back the lower jaw during bone growth in children.

The chin cap or cup can be combined with the reverse-pull face mask to move the upper jaw into a better position. Your child can wear a chin cap at home while watching TV or playing around and during sleep.

UNDERBITE BRACES

Underbite braces are usually used alongside with other correction methods. They function by twisting, pushing and moving the teeth into a better alignment. After using the underbite braces to correct the teeth, you will be required to wear a retainer; this will maintain the progress of treatment.

At Cosmetic Dentistry Clinic, we offer a wide range of braces for underbite. Your child will be allowed to choose the type of braces they prefer, whether metal braces or clear ones.

INVISALIGN

Invisalign can also be used to correct an underbite. It is the best choice for individuals who want to go through the correction process privately. The Invisalignare clear aligner braces that effectively treat underbite. It can be used alone or in combination with other methods.

Invisalign can be included in some other underbite treatments, including the underbite surgery.

TOOTH EXTRACTION

Your dentist might advise tooth extraction if there are too many teeth on the lower jaw. This might be necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the braes because it will free space for the remaining teeth to shift into.

To minimise pain during the tooth extraction procedure, local anaesthesia is given. However, general anaesthetic might be administered if it involves the extraction of many teeth. The dentist will loosen the tooth from its socket by simply pushing and twisting it; then takes it out.

UNDERBITE JAW SURGERY

Surgery might be required if the underbite is complicated. The form of surgery to be done is dependent on the location of the underbite. Small screws and plates will be inserted around the jawbones to ensure they don’t move back. Both jaws might need some adjustments.

Before and after the surgery, your surgeon will let you know the changes that occur to your underbite. Common changes to underbite include the following:

  • Improved dental hygiene
  • Improved speech articulations
  • Better face shape

You can request that your dentist show you before and after pictures of past jaw surgeries if you are worried about how you would look like after the surgery.

Since all the cuts made during the surgery would be made inside the mouth, you won’t see any scar afterwards. To ensure that the bones heal in the appropriate position, the jaws might be wired, or a frame might be placed in the mouth.

You would have to stay off work or school for about 2 to 4 weeks after the underbite jaw surgery. Braces are usually used before or after surgery.

UNDERBITE TREATMENT SUMMARY

Correction Method Long Term, Permanent, Removable? Timeframe Ideal Age For Treatment

Upper Jaw Expander

Some expanders are removable, while some are permanent

1 year of movement; 1 year to keep in position

Before the age of 13

Reverse Pill face mask

Removable

≥ 1 year

Before the age of 10

Chin Cap or cup

Removable

≥ 1 year

Before the age of 10

Underbite Braces

Long term

1 to 3 years

Once all the adult teeth have erupted

Tooth extraction

Permanent

Just a visit to the dentist

Once the adult tooth has erupted

Underbite jaw surgery

Permanent

Recovery time is between 2 to 4 weeks

Around 16 to 18 years of age

UNDERBITE AND CLEFT LIP AND PALATE

The chance that babies who were born with a cleft lip or cleft palate will have underbite is high. The upper jaw bone is likely not to develop properly in a child with cleft lip or cleft palate, consequently leading to the occurrence of an underbite.

Underbite surgery is required for the correction of this problem. Surgeries to fix both the cleft lip/palate and the underbite can be done together or at separate times. Our cleft team at Cosmetic Dentistry Clinic can walk you through the entire treatment.

UNDERBITE: CONCLUSION

An underbite is less common than overbite. Only 5 to 10% of people experience it. Hence, it shouldn’t be left untreated. There is a wide range of treatment options available for you or your child to get the underbite fixed.

Take note that underbite correction with braces requires no conspicuous metal wires and brackets. However, many opt for clear aligners such as Invisalign because of discreetness and convenience.

Less invasive correction methods are usually used in babies who are diagnosed withan underbite. Very high success rates have been recorded with these treatment plans, including surgery. At the end of the treatment course, your child’s oral health would have remarkably improved.

NEED HELP?

At Cosmetic Dentistry Clinic, we offer a wide range of correction options for underbite. You can walk into our dental clinic on Harley Street, London, to speak with our dental team about your symptoms and the readily available treatment options. You can also connect with us on the phone by calling us on 02071830755.