What Is an Underbite and How Is It Treated?

Underbite Long Beach, CA

An underbite is one of the most common jaw misalignments, but fortunately, there are effective underbite treatment options available for any patient who has an underbite that may cause oral health, cosmetic, and functional concerns. This review discusses the definition of an underbite and the available treatment options from a licensed dental professional.

A detailed review of underbites and available treatment options

An underbite is a common type of malocclusion. The condition may cause specific symptoms that must be addressed (depending on the severity). Several treatment options are available for an underbite. Here is everything to know about underbites and the available treatment options from a licensed dental professional.

An underbite explained

An underbite is an orthodontic issue in which the individual’s top and bottom teeth do not align properly. Specifically, with an underbite, the bottom teeth extend beyond the top teeth more than they should. Notably, this is the opposite of an overbite, which occurs when the top teeth extend farther than the bottom teeth.

Treatment options for an underbite

The recommended treatment option depends on the underbite's severity, the patient's age, and previous treatments that the patient may have received. For instance, an adult may benefit more from a surgical procedure, whereas orthodontic care may be more suitable for a younger patient (child or teenager). Here are the three most common forms of underbite treatment:

  • Braces or clear aligners
  • Non-surgical treatment
  • Surgical treatment

Braces or clear aligners

Installing braces is one of the most common treatment methods used for underbites. This is especially the case for children and teenage patients, though young adults may also benefit from braces or clear aligners treatment for underbites.

Braces and clear aligners have many similarities. Notably, they both involve straightening teeth and correcting jaw misalignment concerns like underbites. However, the difference is how they are worn. Braces involve brackets that are attached to the visible surfaces of teeth, and a metal wire runs through them, pulling the teeth into the proper positions. There are also different types of braces, such as traditional metal, lingual, and ceramic braces.

Conversely, clear aligners are transparent trays that the patient wears for over 20 hours each day. Unlike braces, the aligners are to be removed while eating or brushing.

Both options typically involve wearing elastics, the primary method by which the upper and lower jaws are shifted into the proper positions. The elastics, along with an improved teeth alignment, help ensure optimal treatment for underbites.

Non-surgical treatment: Upper jaw expander or underbite headgear

An upper jaw expander and underbite headgear are two popular forms of non-surgical treatments for underbites. An upper jaw expander, also known as a palatal expander, may be recommended for a patient who has a small jaw that is contributing to their underbite. It is particularly effective for younger patients (i.e., children during early orthodontic care) because their jaw is more malleable. That said, upper jaw expanders are also effective for many adult patients.

Underbite headgear, also called reverse-pull headgear, works similarly to an expander but involves more pieces. It is also more effective in patients under 10 years of age. This appliance is designed to pull the jaw forward to ensure that the upper teeth match up ideally with the lower teeth

Surgical treatment: Tooth removal or orthognathic surgery

Tooth extraction may be recommended if the patient has too many teeth in the upper jaw, especially if the additional teeth are contributing to the underbite or not allowing for effective underbite treatment. For example, in many cases, patients who choose braces require tooth extraction to provide more room for their teeth to shift into the ideal positions. Dental professionals are strategic in which teeth are removed. Tooth removal is a minimally invasive procedure that requires little recovery time.

Orthognathic surgery may be recommended as a last resort. Also known as corrective jaw surgery, this procedure involves a surgical realignment of the upper and lower jaws. It is typically suggested if no alternative solutions are suitable. Fortunately, the results from orthognathic surgery are predictable and effective in most cases.

Schedule a consultation for underbite treatment

If you or a loved one has an underbite and would like to learn more about the available treatment options from a general dentist, contact us today. We would be glad to answer your initial questions and concerns and help you make the most informed treatment decision to improve your underbite.

Request an appointment here: https://paramountdentalspecialty.com or call Paramount Dental Care & Specialty at (562) 450-1261 for an appointment in our Long Beach office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Underbite in Long Beach, CA.

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