An underbite is a relatively common condition dentists see at their offices, including Parkcrest Dental Group here in Springfield, Missouri. Don’t worry, we promise to take care of you or your children with an underbite. We’ll consult with you to determine a possible treatment regimen for an underbite for minor or severe cases.
Having an underbite means your lower teeth extend farther forward than your upper teeth. Typically, the opposite is true where the upper teeth are farther forward.
Overall, a misaligned jaw causes an underbite.
Genetics are the most common reason someone has an underbite. If at least one of your family members has an underbite, your chances of having the same condition increase.
Childhood behaviors may also cause an underbite. Children’s bodies are still developing and growing, so they are more malleable to environmental influences.
Young children who suck their thumbs, thrusting the tongue against their teeth, breathing through the mouth too much, and using a bottle or pacifier for too long of a time may all lead to an underbite as the jaw develops.
Yes, over time an underbite can become a serious problem for your physical and mental health.
An underbite is not just a cosmetic issue. Several health problems may stem from an underbite.
Someone with this condition may experience mild or severe symptoms, including:
- Chewing difficulties
- Speech issues
- Hearing problems
- Chronic mouth breathing (which can worsen asthma)
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Tooth decay
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic jaw pain (temporomandibular joint disorder)
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) may cause persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw. This pain may exist in the joints near your ears, in and around your ears, and around your face.
Yes, it may mean you have to chew your food more. You may also experience swallowing problems.
Yes, this can lead to wear and tear on your front teeth, which makes them at risk for chipping or breakage. You may also have trouble chewing your food when your teeth are misaligned. As such, you might have to chew longer. Chewing longer can cause even more wear and damage to your teeth than normal. Chewing and swallowing may become more difficult as the underbite gets worse.
Your speech may be altered because the positions of your teeth and tongue are altered by the misaligned teeth. This may turn into a lisp in severe cases.
People with this condition may mispronounce the letters T, D, and N due to their tongue’s inability to reach the top ridge of the roof of their mouth.
Speech problems could lead to other difficulties that have nothing to do with the physical symptoms of the head or jaw.
Dentists and orthodontists can correct an underbite through several treatments.
For children, correcting one may include:
Adults with this condition may need the above therapies or one of the following to treat an underbite:
- Tooth extraction
In minor cases, it may take three to four months to correct this misalignment. Moderate to severe cases may require up to 12 months. Your exact times will vary depending on your precise case. Our doctors can help you determine a treatment time.
Jaw surgery to fix this misalignment is common for adults who have this issue.
An oral surgeon is fully capable of performing the jaw surgery needed to correct an underbite in adults. This corrective jaw surgery is called orthognathic surgery. We can recommend a top oral surgeon in the Springfield area for you.
Your oral surgeon will reposition the upper jaw to lengthen it and/or shorten the lower jaw. Your exact treatment will be custom-tailored to your exact needs. The surgeon will tell you precisely what will happen during the procedure. Don’t worry, an experienced oral surgeon knows how to perform this surgery very well, and it’s a common procedure for him or her to do.
A full recovery may take anywhere from six to 12 weeks, but you may return to normal daily activities within a couple of weeks.
For a mild underbite, straightening your teeth with traditional braces or Invsialign can help realign your jaw. You will have to wear a retainer afterward to maintain the alignment of your teeth and jaw.
Yes, generally in children.
Facemask therapy includes wearing a device on your face that rests on your forehead and chin. Elastics, or orthodontic rubber bands, secured in the upper jaw or along the temples on your head, help gradually pull the upper jaw forward while keeping the lower jaw steady or even pushing it gradually backwards.
Facemask therapy requires a commitment from the patient. In some cases, you might need to wear a facemask 16 hours a day for a year. Basically, any time you don’t sleep or eat.
Early treatment between the ages of 7 and 10 is crucial to correct this misalignment. It’s better to treat an underbite in children because the jaw is still developing. Orthodontists recommend children receive an orthodontic screening at age 7 to see if there are any issues that may cause problems later in life.
Having this condition is the most common bite issue in Americans.
Approximately 1 in 20 people (5 percent of the population) have this type of misalignment.
Yes, it can get worse with age, particularly if this condition isn’t corrected before a child’s growth spurt occurs during the teenage years. After this growth spurt, the jaw stops growing and an underbite can become more prominent.