What Is An Underbite?
Underbite refers to a dental condition where the lower front teeth overlap the upper front teeth excessively when the jaws are closed. It is common for teeth to be aligned abnormally. This condition is called malocclusion. An underbite can not only create an unwanted appearance with your smile, but it also can affect your Oral health. Underbites can be treated orthodontically, with treatments such as aligners and braces. Continue reading for more information and ways your oral health can be improved by correcting this problem.
How Do You Get An Underbite?
Having a lower jaw that juts out further than the upper jaw is a common genetic or hereditary problem. If you have others in your family who suffer from an underbite, you have likely inherited this condition through genetics.
If you have a tumor growth near your jaw, this can cause the jaw to misalign or shift, resulting in an underbite.
Injury to the Jaw
If you suffer a trauma to the jawbone it could cause a break, resulting in different levels of possible severity. There is always a possibility when the jaw has a break that the bones will not realign and heal in the correct position. This could lead to development of an underbite during and after recovery. Steps can often be taken to avoid this during healing, but they do not always work.
Common Causes In Children
A few factors that are common for underbite development with children are quite common things, but when they are used excessively. They are pacifiers, bottle feeding, and thumb sucking.
Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking
The extensive use of a pacifier in babies and toddlers can cause forward shifting of the teeth during development and emergence. Sucking the thumb has similar consequences. Continuous pressure on the teeth from the sucking motion can cause shifting, producing the underbite. It is important to note that while these are common soothing techniques used by parents and then children themselves as they grow to toddler age, stopping these habits while they are still young can play an important part in reducing the risk of developing a bite issue such as an underbite as they grow.
Excessive Bottle Feeding
Using a bottle too much for young children can play a big part in the development of an underbite for the child. Having effects similar to extended pacifier use or chronic thumb sucking, the sucking motion associated with using a bottle pushes the tongue up against the front teeth which can cause misalignment and shifting of the teeth and the jaw.
How Does An Underbite Affect Your Health?
Underbites can cause many side effects to both your oral and physical well being.
When a person has an underbite, it can contribute to sleep apnea, or a condition where a person stops breathing at points during their sleep. The position of your jaw plays a big part in the development of this condition. Sleep apnea can be a serious condition and results in many different effects on your overall well being.
Have you ever heard you are a mouth breather? Underbites often cause one to breathe through their mouth. This can lead to loud and heavy snoring during sleep. Loud and heavy snoring is also a sign or sleep apnea, so this could go hand in hand with that condition.
TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)
Your temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects your jaw to the rest of your skull. TMD causes the jaw to feel like it is locked into one position and can cause pain when attempting to move it. People with TMD will often hear a popping sound when they attempt to move their jaw.
Chronic bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, can be a result of underbite. People with underbite can often develop bacterial infection within the mouth, which can be a cause of bad breath.
Difficulty Chewing or Biting Food
The positioning of the jaw in a person with an underbite can sometimes make it difficult for a person to bite or chew food. This can lead to daily stress while trying to achieve the most basic need.
How Do You Treat An Underbite?
How to treat an underbite depends on the type and severity of each individual case. Orthodontists offer many options ranging from braces for less serious cases all the way to surgery for more severe cases.
The use of dental braces during the childhood and teen years are most successful because the bones and teeth are still pliable and can be molded and shifted into place easily. Braces are affixed to the teeth. Next, the use of elastic bands placed in strategic positions on the braces provides constant pressure that pulls the jaw into the proper position. Once this process is finished, the person will typically wear a retainer to hold the corrected positioning of the teeth and jaw.
Mini plates are anchored to the skull, and elastics are attached to them. Inside the mouth, the elastics are worn to help to pull the person’s upper jaw forward to fix the underbite issue.
In the most severe cases of underbite, surgery is an option available to fix the problem. This option is typically used for adults. In children, the bones can be shifted into desired positions easier because they are still malleable and while developing. Non surgical options work best for children.
In conclusion, regardless of the severity level of your underbite, there is an orthodontist nearby in NJ that can help you. Many different things can result in an overbite, so whether it is genetic or has been caused by an outside source, it can greatly affect your oral health. If you are thinking this is me after reading this article, reach out to us. Our team will deep dive into your personal case of underbite in order to create the best treatment plan for your individual needs, whether that be braces, surgery, or another type listed above.