What Is An Underbite and how does it affect you?
An underbite is a misalignment of the teeth that occurs when the lower teeth and jaw protrude up and beyond the upper jaw. That means that when you close your mouth, the lower teeth and jaw will appear abnormally pronounced. There are many types of improper bites - malocclusion - and an underbite is one of them.
Underbites can vary in severity. In mild cases, the underbite may be barely noticeable, while severe underbites can distort facial features and cause serious self-esteem issues. While underbites only affect between 5 and 10 percent of the overall population, for those few living with an underbite, personal and professional encounters can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Not only is receiving treatment to correct the underbite worthwhile, it is absolutely necessary to maintain your self-confidence and quality of life.
At Burrow Orthodontics we can help.
Contact us today for a free consultation or more information.
LEARN ABOUT YOUR OPTIONS
If you or your child has an underbite, it is important that you seek treatment
as soon as possible. An improper bite not only looks unsightly, it can affect how your mouth works, how your jaw develops, and can lead to many other dental problems in the future. Evaluation by a qualified orthodontist is the first step in making a decision about how to fix your underbite.
Causes, Complications, TREATMENTs & COST
Most cases of underbite are inherited. If you or one of your parents has an underbite, then your child is at a greater risk for having one as well. Apart from genetics, thumb-sucking, prolonged pacifier use, thrusting the tongue against the teeth, excessive mouth breathing, an abnormal jawbone and poor chewing habits can also cause or worsen the condition. Without early intervention, the unnatural position of an underbite can cause a number of issues as people age.Common complications resulting from an untreated underbite include:
- Painful jaws issues and TMJ disorder
- Altered facial structure, appearance and jaw position
- Increased risk for decay and gum disease
- Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing
- Low self-esteem due to abnormal facial appearance
- Increased wear and tear on tooth enamel
Treating an underbite is key to maintaining proper oral function and avoiding painful dental problems. When determining the best approach for underbite correction, the orthodontist will consider the patient’s age as well as the severity of the underbite.
The majority of underbite cases can be corrected by non-surgical treatments. Though for older patients and severe underbites, surgery is usually recommended.
Underbite Correction Without Surgery
Contrary to popular belief, not all underbites require surgery. In fact, many mild to moderate underbites can be successfully treated with non-surgical orthodontic methods. Children are better candidates for non-surgical approaches than adults because their jaws are still developing. When underbites are detected early, your child will have a better chance of avoiding more invasive treatment such as surgery in the future.
For non-surgical underbite treatments, a combination of options may be used. These include:
UPPER JAW EXPANDER
The expander device is placed in the roof of the patient’s mouth. Throughout treatment, patients use a key at night to widen the expander. Over time, the expander increases the size of the dental arch, properly positioning the lower jaw and upper jaw.
Reverse pull face maskThis method resembles orthodontic headgear and works by wrapping around the patient’s head. It attaches to metal bands on the upper back teeth to pull the upper jaw into its proper position.
Chin capsA chin cap is a device that wraps around the chin and the top of the head to prevent further growth, movement and protrusion of the lower jaw.
Cosmetic optionsFor mild cases of underbite, patients may benefit from one of the latest underbite correction methods, called “Facelift” technology. This approach reshapes the lower teeth and then bonds veneers to the uppers, which enables the lower teeth to close properly behind the upper teeth. Rather than correcting the condition, "Facelift" technology improves the underbite’s appearance by making it less visible and improving the jaw's functionality.
After a proper bite between the upper and lower jaws has been established, patients typically need to wear braces for a period of time in order to finalize their new, properly adjusted smile.
Compared to surgical treatment, non-surgical methods are more cost-effective, but may take a prolonged period of time to achieve desired results. If underbites are detected in a timely manner, surgery can be avoided.
Surgical Treatment for Underbites
As previously mentioned, children and mild underbites can be treated without surgery. Moderate to severe underbites, however, often require surgical treatment to achieve desired results. For adult patients, surgery is usually the only option for underbite correction. That’s because the fully developed bones in their jaw are less malleable and welcoming to adjustments than they were at a younger age.
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs surgical correction for an underbite. While each surgery will vary depending on the severity of the underbite, the procedure typically includes repositioning the lower jaw back and pulling the upper jaw forward. In most cases, patients will use braces along with surgery (before and after) to achieve optimal results.
Surgical treatment is more expensive and invasive than non-surgical methods. Although it is usually the only treatment option for adults with an underbite, it is highly effective for creating an attractive, fully functional smile.
The Cost of Treating Your Underbite
When choosing a course of treatment for correcting your underbite, cost will undoubtedly be an important factor. The severity of your condition, the type and length of treatment required for your underbite, andyour insurance type will all play key roles in determining how much your underbite correction will cost. Jaw surgery is the most costly treatment of all the methods available. Fortunately, many dental plans are able to cover some if not most of the costs associated with treating an underbite. Ultimately, the sooner you address an underbite, the more affordable and cost-effective it becomes.
Call Burrow & Welchel Orthodontics Today
Contact us today for an evaluation or any questions you may have – (704) 334-7202.
Areas We Service In The Charlotte Area
- South End
- Myers Park
- Plaza Midwood
- Fort Mill & Rock Hill, SC