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An underbite is a class III orthodontic malocclusion where the lower jaw is pushed forward. In a normal bite, the front teeth should slightly overlap the lower teeth.
An underbite is when the lower front teeth and jaw are positioned in front of the upper front teeth and jaw. An underbite can be mild or severe and requires orthodontic treatment to fix.
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The primary causes of an underbite include:
There are two types of underbites:
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Underbites and overbites should never go uncorrected. If left untreated, severe pain, jaw problems, and dental conditions can result over time.
Underbites can also cause sleeping problems, headaches, and discomfort without proper treatment.
Common complications of an untreated underbite include:
Underbites are commonly found in children and adolescents.
Although, the misalignment usually resolves once permanent teeth emerge. If you are concerned your child may have a true underbite, consult your local orthodontist to discuss your options.
Treatment for an underbite depends on the patient’s age and the severity of misalignment.
Some underbites form due to birth defects, such as a cleft lip and palate. The earlier you seek treatment for your child's underbite, the less likely surgery will be necessary later in life.
If a severe underbite isn’t noticeable or present at birth, orthodontists recommend waiting to start treatment until your child starts developing permanent teeth. Permanent teeth typically start growing in around age 7.
According to Dr. Nandita Lilly, one of NewMouth’s in-house dentists, “the correction methods used to treat an underbite are based on factors such as the extent of the underbite and the child’s age. So it is imperative to see your dental professional as early as possible so the child’s bones and palate can be more easily manipulated.”
Common underbite treatment for children include:
If an underbite is not corrected in early childhood, it is more likely that other dental conditions and jaw issues have developed into adulthood.
Treatment is still possible for adults, but choices are limited since the jaw and teeth have fully developed. Depending on the patient, surgery is usually necessary at this stage of life.
Common treatment options for adults include:
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