What Is an Underbite?

A lot of people are confused about how to fix an underbite, especially when compared to the other types of misaligned teeth. An underbite is a condition in which someone’s lower row of teeth go out further than the top row due to their jaw protruding forward. The jaw sitting forward causes the misaligned bite. An underbite is often confused with a crossbite, but the main difference is an underbite affects all of the teeth instead of just a group of teeth.

An underbite can be caused by many factors, including things that are out of your control like genetics. If one of your grandparents or parents has an underbite, your own underbite has most likely been passed down through genetics. Underbites can also be caused by childhood habits, like thumb sucking, or past injuries that cause teeth to grow in improperly. Excessive thumb sucking as a child can cause the jaw to grow incorrectly causing the misalignment. Jaw injuries can also cause the jaw to change shape because of the trauma to the jawbone. There are usually therapies in place after a jaw injury in order to help the jaw heal properly, but if it does not heal correctly an underbite can occur.

Health Issues Caused by Underbites

An underbite can cause someone to be insecure about the appearance of their smile, but it can also cause health issues as well. Underbites can cause:

  • Halitosis: Underbites can cause bacterial infections in the mouth due to bacteria getting stuck in the hard to reach places of the misaligned teeth. The built up bacteria can cause chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis.
  • Jaw Pain: The joint that connects the jawbone to the skull can experience extra pressure from a misaligned bite. This can cause pain in the jaw and severe headaches from the pressure.
  • Speech Problems: An underbite can also affect the way words are pronounced due to the incorrect positions of the teeth. This can often present as a lisp.
  • Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: Underbites can also cause tooth decay and gum disease in the mouth. Built up bacteria and plaque on the enamel and near the gum line can cause tooth decay, and if left untreated the decayed tooth can infect the gums causing gum disease.

Fixing an Underbite

Thankfully, there are treatments for fixing an underbite to keep these health concerns at bay.

Treatment for Underbites

The most common way to fix an underbite is through braces. Braces are used to straighten the teeth, which in turn corrects the way the teeth sit in your mouth. At Braces Braces, there are different options of braces to choose from in order to meet your preferences as well as financial needs. Braces Braces offers clear braces, traditional metal braces and Invisalign aligners, which can all work to correct the underbite. Unless there is a serious underbite, braces are usually the first option to correct the misalignment.

Treatment for Severe Underbites

Although most underbites can be corrected without surgery, in severe cases of misaligned teeth, jaw surgery can help correct a serious underbite. Jaw surgery resets the jaw in order to correct the misalignment before it causes further health complications. Further treatment, like braces or nighttime retainers, may be required after surgery in order to ensure the underbite remains corrected. Jaw surgery is only performed on adults whose jawbone and teeth are no longer growing.

Contact Braces Braces Today!

If you have an underbite, consider giving Braces Braces a call to have our Atlanta orthodontic team take a look at your teeth and see what we think is the best treatment for your misaligned bite. Based on the severity, we may suggest one of these braces options, or let you know if your underbite is not severe enough to cause any damage to your health. We look forward to meeting you, and helping you reach your smile and overall health goals!

The underbite can be seen through this illustration with the front teeth sitting behind the bottom teeth, causing the misalignment of the bite.