Three percent of the population suffers from an underbite. Underbites are not fatal or extremely detrimental. But they can impact how a person chews and digests food.
If you have an underbite, you should address it as soon as possible. Even though underbites are common, underbite treatment is largely unknown.
Thankfully, you have multiple options at your disposal. You can get treatment and start a better life. Here is a quick guide to underbite treatment.
The Basics of an Underbite
An underbite occurs when the lower teeth extend farther than the upper teeth. An underbite creates a bulldog-like appearance, even if the underbite is slight.
Many underbites are genetic. People who were born with cleft lips and palates tend to have underbites. Injuries and thumb sucking can cause an underbite, but these cases are rare.
Many people live with mild underbites. But severe underbites can cause difficulty when chewing food and challenges with speaking. Since an underbite misaligns the jaw, mouth, and face pain can occur.
Before pursuing treatment, take note of your symptoms. If you have extreme pain in your jaw, you may have TMJ. If you have pain in your face, you may have a broken jawbone or tumor.
Take note of how your jaw is aligned. Your jaw may be lopsided, or your teeth may be crooked.
Take note of how your tongue fits in your mouth as well. Your tongue should touch the roof of your mouth while you are resting it. If your tongue pushes against your bottom jaw, it can make your underbite bigger.
Braces for Underbite
Braces are the most common underbite treatment. They can correct jaw and teeth position, straightening teeth that an underbite may have pushed around.
Underbite braces work just like other kinds of braces. Some dentists attach additional gear to adjust your bite alignment. They attach elastics to push the lower jaw back, settling it against the upper jaw.
As the jaw and teeth move, dentists adjust the wiring. They take X-rays and tooth impressions to ensure that things are moving in the right direction.
Braces are the best non-surgical option for adults. They provide a quick solution, correcting an underbite within one year.
You need to adjust your eating and drinking habits. You will have to avoid food that can get caught in your braces. You will need to avoid staining braces with drinks and toothpaste.
If you want invisible braces, you can use Invisalign. Invisalign is more expensive than regular braces, but they offer as effective a solution. More extreme cases of underbite require more measures.
Non-Surgical Underbite Treatment
Dentists can provide several non-surgical treatments. You may need two or more treatments for a long-term solution.
A jaw expander helps when the upper jaw does not develop fully. The dentist fits a metal device over the back teeth. The device pushes the teeth out, expanding the upper jaw and palate.
Some jaw expanders act like retainers, which you can remove when needed. Others require the dentist to fix them on the palate for continuous use.
Jaw expanders are best for young children. Jawbones don’t fuse until a child is 12 or 13, so jaw expanders work with how a child grows.
Dentists recommend a jaw expander for one year. A patient may have to wear a retainer until their bones have fused.
Underbite headgear involves a few more pieces than a jaw expander. The headgear rests on the patient’s forehead. A dentist attaches the headgear to braces, connecting the two with elastic bands.
The headgear pulls the upper jaw into position through time. Some headgear devices use chin cups to settle the lower jaw into position.
Underbite headgear is best for children ten years of age or younger. Children can wear headgear during the day and at night. If they need to take the headgear off for a social event, they can easily remove it.
Surgical Underbite Treatment
If non-surgical methods don’t work, you can get underbite surgery. If you are an adult who doesn’t want braces, surgery is your best option.
If your upper jaw has too many teeth, your dentist can remove a few of your teeth. You may need teeth removed for your braces to work effectively.
Tooth extraction is common and quick. You receive a local anesthetic, and your dentist twists the tooth out of your socket.
Orthognathic surgery involves a few different things. A dentist may need to reposition your lower jaw, upper jaw, or both. They will insert small screws or plates to ensure the bones don’t move back.
A dentist may need to separate the rear of your jaw from the front. They may need to add extra bones, transferring material from elsewhere in your body. These types of operations may require multiple procedures over one year.
Surgery for underbites is safe and effective. You may need to take a couple of weeks off work, but you can return within a month. A dentist makes all cuts inside the mouth, so underbite surgery does not leave scars.
An underbite can make your jaw drop. But you can get help. Understand your underbite treatment options, and you can correct your underbite today.
If your lower teeth extend beyond your upper teeth, you have an underbite. Most people can live with slight underbites. But if you suffer from jaw pain or trouble eating, you should get help.
Braces are common among adults. Other options include jaw expanders and underbite headgear. Corrective surgery includes tooth extraction and plate insertion.
When you need treatment, go to the best orthodontists around. Weiss and Tor Orthodontics offers the best underbite treatment in northeastern Ohio. Contact us today.