Underbites are dental conditions occurring when the front teeth on the lower arch fit over the front teeth on the upper arch. The condition is known as prognathism or class three malocclusion. Underbites usually make the facial and mouth appearance similar to that of a bulldog.
Some people have severe underbites, which makes the lower teeth significantly farther than the lower teeth, while others have milder underbites that are barely noticeable.
An underbite does not only affect the appearance but also causes other dental problems like the following.
Different factors affect the normal alignment of the teeth.The teeth on the upper arch fit slightly over the lower teeth, with the molars fitting into the groves of one another. If you have properly aligned teeth, you will not bite into your tongue or cheeks while eating.
The following factors may lead to the development of an underbite.
Some habits in children increase the risk of developing dental problems like underbite or teeth misalignment. Some of these childhood habits that may cause underbite include
Most times, people with an underbite have one or both parents with underbites. Genetics also affects the size and shape of a person’s teeth and jaw.
Some people are born with abnormally shaped and ill-fitting teeth, while others are born with closely positioned teeth. All these, including cleft palate and lip, may lead to malocclusion.
People who have severe facial injuries may end up with permanent jawbone damage. Sometimes, a broken or damaged jawbone may be repaired, but the jaw may no longer fit perfectly even after surgery. This may lead to an underbite.
Mouth or jawbone tumours may cause protrusion of the jaws, which may lead to an underbite.
Most people have teeth misalignments, but some people’s misalignments are mild and do not require treatment, while, others have severe misalignments that require medical intervention to prevent further oral health issues.
Correcting a dental issue like underbite usually makes cleaning the teeth easier. It helps you prevent gum diseases and tooth decay. Correcting an underbite also reduces the strain on the jaw, facial muscles and teeth. When you have properly aligned teeth, you reduce the risk of temporomandibular disorder and breaking the teeth. These problems are usually prevalent in people with underbites,
The common underbite treatments include the following.
Regular teeth flossing and brushing is vital in keeping the teeth healthy. Visiting your dentist regularly for cleaning and check-up would also keep your teeth healthy, but if you have an underbite, you may find it difficult to brush and floss like others with perfectly aligned teeth. You need to specially care for your teeth to avoid tooth decay and other dental issues.
If you have an underbite, ensure you brush a minimum of two times every day with each brushing session lasting for about two minutes. Always use fluoride toothpaste, paying special attention to the back of the mouth and gum line. Do not forget to floss daily as this will help remove lingering food particles.
Medical treatment is the surest way to correct your underbite and any other dental issue. Underbite medical treatment will improve the appearance of the teeth. If the underbite is mild, the orthodontist may recommend plastic or wire braces to move the teeth to their perfect positions gradually.
The orthodontist may also recommend removal of one teeth or more from the lower arch, especially if the cause of the underbite is overcrowding. The orthodontist may also reduce the size of a tooth or smoothen out areas that stick out or are too large using a grinding dental device.
If your underbite is a severe one, you may need surgery to correct it.
Correction of an underbite at an early age increases the chances of successful treatment and helps to avoid other dental complications. If a child has a mild underbite, the parent of the child could wait for the child to be at least seven years before seeking treatment like braces. At this age, the permanent teeth begin to erupt.
A child may use a short-term correction which involves a facemask appliance to correct the front teeth on the lower arch, then undergo a treatment which offers a permanent solution in the future.
If a child’s underbite is severe, especially when the underbite resulted from a defect at birth like a cleft palate or lip, the child may need surgery. However, you may decide to speak to the child’s dentist to recommend a suitable treatment. Undergoing surgery has its risks and may be necessary only when the underbite affects the child’s quality of life, and ability to speak, eat or breath.
A qualified oral surgeon may be able to carry out successful underbite surgery. Different types of surgery are available for the correction of underbite to lengthen or reshape the upper jaw and shorten the lower jaw.
In some cases, the dentist may use screws, plates, or wires to reshape the jawbone. The risks of surgery are numerous and may arise from infection, scarring, general anaesthesia, and bleeding problems.
The cost of correcting an underbite with surgery varies, depending on the dentist. If your skeletal or dental problems may cause other health issues, your health insurance provider may cover the cost of your jaw surgery.
You might pay a small amount of about £70 if your health insurance provider covers the surgery or pay about £3800 if your insurance provider places a cap on jaw surgery.
If your underbite is not severe and jaw surgery is not medically necessary, your health insurance provider may not cover the cost of the surgery. Without insurance, you may pay between £15,000 - £30,000 for jaw surgery, but the cost will be lower if you need the surgery on a jaw.
Jaw surgery involves several procedures like x-rays, exams, bone cutting and reshaping, repositioning the jaw, and general anaesthesia. You also need wires, plates, rubber bands, and screws after the surgery to hold the jaw in the right position. You may need to wait for 1 – 3 weeks to recover after the surgery, and your dentist will likely recommend braces after the surgery to prevent the teeth from moving out of place.
For an underbite, the lower teeth sit further than the upper teeth, while the reverse happens in an overbite. Most times, overbites do not require treatment, unlike most cases of underbite that require treatment to avoid further dental issues. However, both types of malocclusion result from similar causes.
An underbite is a dental issue, although not as common as other dental issues, it affects one’s life and reduces their self-esteem. If you have an underbite, you can easily treat it, but you need to visit your dentist to examine your teeth and recommend the best course of treatment.
If you want to correct your underbite, contact Adult Braces London today on 020 31373179 to book an appointment with an experienced dentist.
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