An optimal alignment of the teeth and jaws is essential for enjoying an attractive smile and healthy dental function. Unfortunately, if the teeth are not aligned properly, it not only affects one’s smile and facial aesthetics, but can also create difficulty in eating and speaking. One such common tooth misalignment problem is an underbite. 

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, an underbite is a condition in which the lower jaw is pushed excessively forward and lies ahead of the upper jaw. Under normal conditions, the upper jaw lies slightly ahead of its lower counterpart. 

Like all other orthodontic issues, an underbite should be fixed as soon as possible. This is because long-standing cases of dental underbites can lead to various complications, such as excessive tooth wear, tooth sensitivity, teeth cavities, and temporomandibular joint problems. Besides, a common symptom is the typical “bull dog” face appearance. 

How to fix an underbite

The treatment of an underbite depends on the type and extent of the underlying issue. Some of the treatment options available for fixing an underbite include:

Interceptive Treatment 

This treatment involves detecting an orthodontic problem early during childhood and easy orthodontic appliances and other measures. These include: 

  • Orthodontic Appliances – if an underbite is because of skeletal reasons, such the overgrowth of the lower jaw, or the undergrowth of the upper jaw, dentists sometimes use palatal arch expanders along with a reverse-pull headgear to protract the upper jaw and bring it ahead of its lower counterpart. This treatment utilizes the growth spurt during puberty to redirect jaw growth. 
  • Surgical Removal of Milk Teeth – if a dentist detects a pattern of developing underbite in a child, they may extract one or more primary teeth so that their permanent successors grow straight and perfectly aligned. 

Adult Treatment Options for an Underbite 

  • Dental Braces – tooth braces are among the most commonly used and time-tested options for fixing various orthodontic issues, including underbites. 
  • Invisalign Aligners – Invisalign aligners offer an esthetically pleasing, comfortable, and convenient alternative to dental braces for fixing mild to moderate cases of dental underbites. 
  • Surgery – in cases when the underbite is because of improper alignment or excessive size-mismatch between the upper and lower jaws, dentists perform orthognathic surgery to fix their relative position and restore optimal tooth alignment. 

H2 Underbite Causes

An underbite can be caused due to various reasons:

  • Genetics – This is among the primary causes of an underbite. Some people are genetically predisposed to having underbites due to excessively large lower jaws or smaller upper jaws. 
  • Parafunctional Habits – bad dental habits like tongue-thrusting, nail-biting, and thumb-sucking can cause an underbite. Excessive pacifier use can also cause a dental underbite. 
  • Face and Jaw Injuries – injuries to the face of the jaws can alter tooth or jaw alignment, which can result in the development of an underbite. 
  • Facial and Jaw Tumors – tumors of the face of the jaws can also affect tooth alignment and jaw positioning and can cause an underbite. 

Untreated cases of dental underbite can cause long-term dental complications and impact one’s health and quality of life. But, the good news is that an underbite is treatable. So, don’t let your orthodontic problems affect your smile and self-confidence! Visit an orthodontist today and take your first step towards a beautiful, healthy, and confident smile.