Your teeth have a big impact on your overall health. Of course, a straight, pearly white smile boosts your confidence. However, the majority of us need orthodontic intervention to get the smile of our dreams. Studies show that only 35% of Americans are born with straight teeth.
In some cases, your jaw also needs treatment. The way your jaw is aligned also plays a role in your oral health and wellbeing. Your jaw has an upper part and a lower part, and it hinges to allow both to meet. When your jaw is misaligned, your teeth don’t fall into their proper positions, causing one of four incorrect bite alignments:
- Cross bites
- Open bites
In this blog, we’ll be exclusively focusing on how to get rid of an underbite. Here are some questions about fixing an underbite that you can expect us to answer:
- What is an underbite?
- Can you fix an underbite?
- How do orthodontists fix underbites?
- Can braces fix an underbite?
- What are other ways to fix underbites?
Before getting into underbite correction, let’s explain what an underbite is.
What Is an Underbite?
Known as a Class III malocclusion, an underbite is a dental condition where your lower teeth are in front of your upper teeth. Underbites are classified by severity—some being more obvious than others. In severe cases, a person’s jaw protrudes so far out that their teeth don’t meet at all.
Underbites are not simply a cosmetic issue; they can significantly lower a person’s quality of life, along with their self-esteem. Depending on the severity of your underbite, you may experience:
- Tooth decay
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic jaw pain
- Problems chewing
- Bacterial infections
- Difficulty speaking and breathing
- Cracked, broken, or worn-down teeth
Various factors can cause someone to develop an underbite: genetics, bad childhood habits, or injury. Luckily, most underbites can be treated by orthodontics. So, how do orthodontists fix underbites? Do you need braces for an underbite? Is Invisalign one of the ways to fix an underbite? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more.
How Do Orthodontists Fix Underbites?
When it comes to fixing an underbite, the sooner the better. Underbite correction tends to be most successful in children and pre-teens, but you can certainly get treatment as an adult. Below we’ve listed six ways to fix underbites—some being more involved than others.
- Braces. Underbite correction with braces is one of the best ways to fix an underbite. The underbite braces process involves the use of rubber bands, which pull your teeth and jaw into correct alignment over time.
- Invisalign. For milder underbites, Invisalign may be an option. Using Invisalign attachments, elastic bands are attached to “buttons” on clear aligners that put more force on the teeth, improving the way they fit together.
- Facemask therapy. Resembling a classic headgear, reverse-pull face masks are commonly used for children’s underbite correction before their bones fuse. In essence, it pulls the upper jaw forward to realign it with the lower jaw.
- Upper jaw expander. An expander is a wireframe device that sits across your upper palate. Every night, the wearer uses a special key to slightly widen the expander, gradually broadening the upper jaw. This method is often used in conjunction with facemark therapy because the expander alone won’t correct an underbite.
- Tooth extraction. If you have too many lower teeth, causing them to protrude, you may need the extra teeth removed. Other times, when the underbite isn’t that bad, two lower teeth can be removed to camouflage the bite. This procedure is usually combined with other teeth straightening methods, such as braces.
- Surgery. Some underbites are too far gone to be corrected by the above methods alone, which is when jaw surgery is necessary. It’s only recommended once a patient stops growing, and is performed in conjunction with other forms of orthodontic treatment.
The method your orthodontist recommends depends on your condition and age. Now that you have an answer to the question, “How do orthodontists fix underbites?” it’s time to get in touch with an orthodontist who can help determine which treatment is right for you.
Get Underbite Correction Today at Bates Orthodontics
At Bates, we will find the best way to fix an underbite based on your individual case. We take a conservative approach to orthodontics, doing everything we can to perform underbite correction without surgery.
Whether you’re considering underbite correction with braces, Invisalign, or just need an expert’s opinion, we can help. Learn more about early treatment for children and adult orthodontic treatment. Then, schedule a complimentary consultation online.
We’re delighted to answer any and all of your questions. Contact us today to begin your journey towards a straighter, healthier, happier smile!