What happens when you have an underbite?

What is an underbite? 

An underbite is a dental issue where the lower jaw of a person extends farther than the upper jaw. The result is when the person closes his or her mouth the upper set of teeth do not align with the lower set of teeth. The lower set of front teeth cover the upper front teeth giving a bull dog like appearance. This is not just a cosmetic issue. It is much more than that and we will see what happens when you have an underbite further in this blog. Underbites are uncommon as compared to overbites (overbites are opposite of underbites). Many people have mild underbites and they can ignore it and function normally. For severe underbite issues one needs to get dental advice so as to correct it to avoid oral health problems. 

Reasons behind underbites 

One of the most common reasons for an underbite is genes. If more than one person in your family has it, there is a good chance that you may develop it when your permanent teeth erupt. 

Injuries can be responsible for underbites. This may happen because repair of jaw bones may not always let the jaws fit together. 

Some childhood habits like long usage of pacifiers, feeding bottles and sucking on the thumb may also result in underbite. 

What happens when one has an underbite? 

  1. Appearance – As mentioned earlier an underbite can give one a bull dog like appearance which can impact one’s self esteem making a person self-conscious of their looks resulting in behavioral issues. 
  1. Chewing difficulties – People who have severe underbite issues have a problem in simple chewing. Because they cannot chew properly before swallowing, they run the risk of choking. 
  1. Droopy smile – Incase of an underbite the smile of the person is not the usual because of the lower lip protruding it gives a droopy appearance adding to overall esteem issues. 
  1. Speech related issues – Our jaws play an important role in how we speak. Certain letters and words need the upper and the lower jaw to align. For example, the letter s and f. Making these sounds with an underbite are difficult leading to speech issues which add further to the feeling of self-consciousness in young adults. 
  1. Chronic jaw pains, headaches and ear aches – Common problems associated with underbite are the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pains which can lead locking of jaws, popping sounds while moving the jaw and jaw pain. Side effects of TMJ include severe headaches, earaches, toothaches, dizziness and hearing problems. 
  1. Cracked or worn-down teeth – Because the jaws don’t align there can be unnecessary grinding of the teeth during eating and this can lead to cracked and worn-down teeth. 
  1. Bad breath – An underbite allows room for bacterial growth leading to bad breath problems. 
  1. Snoring – People with an underbite tend to breathe through the mouth and cause snoring. 
  1. Sleep apnea – The condition where a person stops breathing during sleep multiple times generally at night is called sleep apnea. This leads to uneasy sleeping and fatigue. 
  1. Tooth decay from the wearing off the enamel is another complication generally associated with underbites. It is difficult to clean teeth that are misaligned which can lead tooth decay and gum diseases. 

Treatments for underbite 

Mild cases of underbite do not need any treatment however people may still want to correct it. In such cases veneers can be used. In severe cases one definitely needs to do correction because of all the health and self esteem problems that arise from the underbite.  

  1. Braces are the most common methods used for alignment of the teeth. Depending on the severity and complexity of the case your dentist may recommend traditional metal braces or clear aligners. 
  1. Upper jaw expanders – Sometimes the underbite can be fixed by expanding the upper jaw. For this the dentist will fit a jaw expander made of metal wire frame across your palate which needs to be widened every night leading to slow expansion of the upper jaw thereby getting rid of the underbite. 
  1. For young children there are these things called reverse pull face masks which are used. It works like a jaw expander however unlike a jaw expander which works from the inside a reverse pull face mask works from the outside. It is wrapped around the head and pulls the jaw with the help of metal bands which are fastened to the upper teeth. There is chin cup which keeps the mask in its place. 
  1. Surgery – In some exceptional cases the dentist may recommend a surgery which can fix either the jaws or move forward the entire face of a person. 

No one is born with a perfect bite and many of us will adjust to what we were born with in our own way but if it is something that is bothering you, you must consider bite correction as a remedy. 

Bite correction can impact how a person looks, feels, eats and speaks. Hence, we recommend you consult your family dentist if you also suffer from an underbite. He/ She should be able to guide you to the best possible solution to your specific problem.  

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If you have any dental queries, you can always call Ensure Dental Care on 940-274-3229 for more information or to schedule an appointment. We are the family dentist near you. Ensure Dental Care is the one of the best family dental clinics at Saginaw Texas. We accept all major insurance providers. We also have in house payment plan. We have a very experienced and professional team of dental practitioners and we look forward to serving you to the best of our abilities.