How to fix an underbite
What is an Underbite?
An underbite, first of all, also known professionally as a Class III type of bite, is when the lower teeth extend beyond the upper and ideally the reverse is true, where the top teeth meet the lower teeth by overlapping them. In this type of bite, the lower jaw protrudes beyond the top jaw, making it impossible for the lower row of teeth to align behind the upper row of teeth as they should.
What causes underbites and overbites?
They can be caused by the upper jaw bone being underdeveloped or the bone in the lower jaw being overdeveloped or a combination of both. It can also be due to the position of the teeth, due to a postural habit when closing or due to habits.
Underbites can also result from behaviours like thumb-sucking or caused by genetics or as the result of an accident. Whatever the cause, severe underbites should be treated immediately or as early as possible however there are occasions where delaying treatment is beneficial for you.
Underbites can affect 5-10% of the population and should not be confused with underbites.
Underbites vs Overbites – What are the Differences?
It is once again normal for your top teeth to overlap the bottom teeth and just because your upper teeth extend somewhat over your lower teeth, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an overbite. It is also normal for the top teeth to protrude over the lower by a certain degree. It is when this overlap is excessive that you might say that you have an underbite.
Minor overbites are very common and usually no treatment is needed.
What causes an overbite?
The overlap should measure up to 4 millimeters. In excess of this, causes such as:
- a small lower jaw
- a small chin
- misaligned bites
- thumb sucking
- poorly fitted crowns
- gum disease
Also, sometimes its just the position of the teeth.
Overbites are technically referred to as Class II bites, there are a range of of devices that help in correcting this type of bite.
A team of specialist dental surgeons, also known as orthodontists will determine the best course of action to treat your misaligned bite.
Your options could include:
Some treatment options for children with underbites include:
- Removable type of braces such as an upper jaw expander, a device that is placed in the upper jaw which can be widened nightly until treatment is complete.
- A reverse-pull face mask, which wraps around the head and attaches to the braces attached on the back upper teeth to pull the upper jaw forward.
- A chin cap, which restricts the growth of the lower jaw.
- Fixed braces to adjust the position of the misaligned teeth.
- Aligners to render a more discreet type of solution
Will I needed teeth extracted for an underbite?
Depending on your type of underbite or the bite you present with, lengthier treatments, with braces can be accomplished with Dental extractions, to relieve the pressure of overcrowding and help the jaw relax into a more natural position.
Surgery to act as an adjunct to fixed braces to modify the position of the top and bottom jaws.
Please contact us on 02079358777 or via email to organise a consultation to discuss your needs. At 128 Harley Street Dental Suite we aim to tailor the treatment to your needs.
Dr. Stefan Abela
BChD, MFDS, RCS Eng, MSc, MORTH RCS Ed, AHEA, FDS Orth RCS Ed
Stefan is a Consultant in Orthodontics at one of the most prestigious London teaching hospitals; Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust.
Stefan is also a specialist in Orthodontics and is registered on the General Dental Council (GDC) specialist list. Stefan qualified as a dental surgeon in 2003 and underwent further training in various specialties including restorative dentistry, paediatric dentistry, oral medicine and complex oral and maxillofacial surgery including the management of facial trauma.