An underbite occurs when the lower teeth protrude up and out causing them to partially overlap the top teeth. Underbite is less common than the overbite but is similar to it in many ways; The problems and causes associated with a underbite are similar to an overbite as well as the ways to correct the problem. When dealing with an underbite it is important to ask and answer several questions about underbites like; How does an underbite from? How problems arise from an underbite? And what are the treatment options?
- Genetics: Genetics can play key role in the development of an underbite. This is the same with overbites except underbites are rare in comparison, affects between 5-10% of the world’s population. Underbites can cause the jaw to protrude slightly because of the bottom teeth overlapping the top and is most common in those of Asian descent. Abnormalities in the jaw bone development can also cause an underbite to form.
- Habits: Children can begin to develop an underbite due to poor chewing habits when eating or from thumbsucking at an early age. Other habits like tongue thrashing as an infant can also play a role in underbite development.
Problems Associated with an Underbite
- Pain: One of the biggest problems associated with an underbite is pain and soreness in the jaw due to the abnormality of the teeth alignment.
- Tooth Decay: In addition to the pain that comes with improper teeth alignment, underbites put an unnecessary amount of stress on the teeth themselves. The abnormal alignment can cause tooth decay, wear and tear on the enamel, and an increased chance of gum disease.
- Aesthetics: Looks may not be everything but the appearance of an underbite can impact the patient’s self esteem and self confidence. Overtime, an underbite can begin to change the structure of the patient’s mouth, nose and face.
How to Correct an Underbite
- Children: While some minor forms of overbites can be left untreated, underbites cannot. Children who have underbites are often fitted with special chin straps to help correct the abnormality. Another device to help correct a child’s underbite is called an expander. The expander is worn for a few hours everyday to help expand the lower jaw to give more room to correct the underbite.
- Adults: Unfortunately for adults the underbite has become a skeletal issue and chin straps and expanders will not be enough to correct the underbite. The only form of action that can be take to correct an adult’s overbite is surgery.
If you have questions about underbites or any of the other services we offer, contact us today to set up an appointment or visit Dr. Kraus at our office in Allen, TX.