How to Treat and Prevent Underbites

Posted on Apr 19, 2012

How to Treat and Prevent Underbites

Your orthodontic experts at HGS Ortho aim to educate you on issues that may arise with your child’s teeth. Here’s a quick Q&A about one of the most common jaw/tooth alignment problems: underbite.

What does an underbite look like? 

The lower jaw protrudes more than the upper jaw.

How does an underbite happen? 

Poor chewing habits can cause an underbite but mostly it comes from poor jaw and tooth alignment.

Why should I be concerned about an underbite? 

Aside from aesthetic issues, an underbite places a lot of stress on the jaw, which can cause TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) and headaches, jaw pain, jaw clicking, limited jaw movements and problems with chewing.

What can I do about an underbite?

If the underbite is skeletal, surgery may be necessary. If it’s just limited to the teeth, braces could potentially correct the issue. However, prevention is the best way to treat an underbite.

Can you describe the process of fixing an underbite in detail?

If it’s too late to prevent the underbite, the patient will wear braces for a few months before and after surgery. During surgery, the lower jaw may be pulled back and the upper jaw forward if necessary, though it may be possible that only one jaw will require work. Your orthodontic expert at HGS Ortho in Richmond and Port Coquitlam will be able to determine the best course of action for your underbite.

If the underbite has just begun, children (as young as five) can have their upper jaw widened with a jaw expander. The process will typically take several months and the patient will wear a reverse-pull face mask (to encourage the upper jaw to grow properly) and perhaps a chin cap (to discourage the lower jaw from growing) for about a year. Treatments vary, so be sure to see an orthodontic specialist.

What is the success rate of the treatment? 

The success rate is very high for both surgical and non-surgical treatment. Contact HGS Ortho in Richmond and Port Coquitlam to book an appointment.