Many people have problems with an underbite. The question here is whether it is possible to solve the problem. Can orthodontics help, or will you need surgery? What are some of the most common side-effects you might experience?
There are so many important issues to address that will help you understand why this is such an important topic. Of course, if you are in need of orthodontics, this link can provide all the help you need. Let’s take a look at every detail you need to know about underbite and possible treatment plans.
What Does It Mean to Have an Underbite?
Normally, the lower and upper jaw should align when mouths are closed. But in some cases, the upper and lower jaw don’t align as they should. In these cases, the lower jaw will either be moved to the front or to the back.
Based on the position of the lower jaw, the person will have an underbite or overbite. Now, the position of teeth can also determine the alignment, but here, the problem is in the location of the jaw.
Those that have underbite can experience trouble while eating and even with digestion. Naturally, it will also have a significant effect on their self-esteem. So, it is more than obvious why people would like to address this problem as soon as possible. But the question is, can they even do anything about it?
What Causes It?
There are several different factors that may contribute to the development of an underbite. The first one is genetics. The size and shape of teeth are mostly inherited from parents, and the same can apply to bones of the skull. As a result, someone might inherit the underbite as well.
But genetics is not the only cause of underbite. It is also possible to develop a misaligned jaw if a person experienced trauma in the past. Any type of injury that can cause the jaw to break can lead to an underbite. While the idea is to let the jaw heal and return to its previous state, this isn’t always possible. Needless to say, issues during healing can lead to both underbite and overbite.
What is interesting is that this condition can be caused by certain habits we develop during our lives. For example, a person that uses a pacifier for a long time (or thumb sucking) can experience problems during development. Naturally, this refers to early childhood, and it isn’t something that can severely affect adults. The key here is moderation. Using a pacifier will most likely go on without any issues, but overdoing it can cause problems.
Finally, having a tumor or growth on the jaw can lead to misalignment as well. This is why you should address the problem as soon as you spot it. In the majority of cases, an underbite is not something that will appear overnight. A person will either have it for a long time or notice that their jaw hasn’t healed properly after a trauma.
Can You Spot the Symptoms?
Spotting signs and symptoms of underbite is quite simple. If a person has had it for years, they are probably well aware that their lower jaw has moved to the front. But even if it is something that happened recently, it is still easy to notice the difference.
Besides visual clues, a person with underbite might have difficulty speaking and eating, and it can cause pain. It is worth mentioning that there are different levels of an underbite. Any type of misalignment of the jaw will be either underbite or overbite, regardless of how big or small it is.
As a result, the difference can vary from discomfort to pain. Furthermore, a person with a smaller difference between the upper and lower jaw might get used to the situation, especially if they had the same condition since they were young.
This doesn’t mean that they should leave it untreated, and it is always a good idea to fix the problem if that’s something you can do. Finally, if the underbite is a consequence of injury, there is a high chance that the person will have difficulty speaking, eating, or doing anything else that involves moving the jaw.
Is There a Treatment?
The short answer is yes. It is possible to treat the condition, even if the misalignment is significant. But there are still a couple of factors we should discuss. Firstly, the age of the patient will play an important role in the treatment. If they are younger, the jaw will be a lot more moldable. As a result, orthodontic treatments can be a perfect correction method. While it requires a bit of time to fix the jaw, it is rarely painful.
For adults, the situation is a bit more complex, but the solution is still possible. Since the jaw is not something you can adjust with ease, and grownups are not growing anymore, there is a high chance that the only solution will be surgery.
Since the bottom jaw is “sticking out,” the simplest solution is to remove the part of the bone on both sides. This will allow the bottom jaw to be moved back and fall in its place. Of course, surgeries are only performed if the person has stopped growing.
In other cases, braces, elastics, and facemask therapies can provide impressive results. Braces are the option if a person has misaligned teeth, and lining them up can eliminate the issue. In some cases, wisdom teeth will be removed, but that’s not something that applies to everyone.
Facemasks require a lot of time and patience. A person will need to wear it for up to sixteen hours per day, and the goal is to pull the upper jaw forward. These upper jaw expanders will have a similar role as elastics, and they offer the best results for younger teenagers.
What to Do About It?
Now that we’ve seen the most important parts, the question is what to do if you are someone in need of an underbite correction. The first thing you should do is consult your orthodontist. They will be able to see the state of your jaw and upper teeth, and once they understand everything, they will be able to propose a solution.
As we mentioned earlier, your age will play an important role in the solution. If your goal is to fix underbite, there is nothing to worry about. The problem is solvable. The only question is which method will provide the best possible results.