Underbite

Underbite

Underbite: what it is and how to fix it

An underbite is an orthodontic issue that occurs when the lower teeth sit further than the upper teeth. The condition is usually genetic, and you may need treatment to avoid further complications.

Surgery and using braces are common treatment options for correcting underbite. There are other treatment options, and your dentist will help you decide which is suitable for you.

It's best to understand the causes of underbite and how it affects one's life if you want to start your underbite treatment or if you are considering treatment.

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Case 2 Befor Case 2 After

Table of contents

What is an underbite?

In an underbite, lower teeth sit in front of the upper teeth, and it makes the lower teeth protrude out. Underbite affects about 5 – 10% of people. Most people's underbite is barely noticeable because the lower teeth rest slightly in front of the upper teeth, but in severe cases, the gap between the upper and lower teeth is large and noticeable. Regardless of how your underbite is, dentists recommend fixing it because it could lead to other problems if left untreated.

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Highly recommend Museum Dental Suite. Their work is of the highest calibre, professional and friendly. I'm very thankful they for excellent aftercare advice and for making me relaxed and so well treated. I've recommended them to both my family and friends.

I have been undertaking a cosmetic treatment (Invisalign) for around eight months here, off the back of a recommendation of a friend who had the same treatment. The professionalism and perfectionism with which my treatment was delivered was outstanding, as was the general service and were all of the staff I encountered.

My dentist Dr. Wahab Shakir was particularly great, with a friendly, reassuring manner and an eye for detail. He always went above and beyond, without ever being asked.

I'm now almost at the end of my treatment and couldn't be more pleased with how treatment has gone. Given the service and end result I'd also consider it excellent value for money.

Keep up the good work Museum Dental Suites!

What causes underbite?

The principal cause of underbite in most people is genetics. If a parent or both has an underbite, you are likely to have it too. Underbite issues also occur with cleft lips and palates in babies. The following childhood behaviours may cause the condition.

  • Overuse of dummy
  • Using pacifiers
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Bottle feeding for a long time
  • Thumb sucking

Underbite results from the upper jaw being short and not developing properly, the upper jaw protruding too far or a combination of both.

Do I need to correct my underbite?

Unlike overbite, which may be natural depending on the size, no underbite is natural. Underbite of any size can cause several problems, and the longer you put off treatment, the harder treating it becomes.

If your child has an underbite, it's best to get it fixed at an early age when the bones are malleable. Untreated underbite could lead to the following.

  • Speech difficulties like slurring and lisping
  • Sleep apnea
  • Mouth breathing
  • Problems with hitting and chewing food
  • Abnormally shaped teeth
  • Wearing down and cracking of the teeth
  • Risk of tooth decay
  • Facial pain due to strain on the jaws
Case 14 Befor Case 14 After
Case 3 Befor Case 3 After

How to fix an underbite

There are different ways to fix your underbite successfully. Usually, the dentist will combine two or three of these available options to correct your bite or that of your child.

Your dentist will explain the various treatment options and tell you which will be best for you after examining your teeth and jaw, below are a few available treatment options for fixing an underbite.

  • Upper jaw extenders

If the underbite due to an underdeveloped upper jaw, the dentist may recommend a jaw extender to help the jaw develop to the correct size. A jaw extender is a metal device that fits over the back teeth and gradually pushes out the teeth, then extend the palate. The device may be removable like a retainer or fixed.

Jaw extenders are the least noticeable treatment for underbites. People may not notice the extenders except you laugh or yawn. Most people who have used jaw extenders complain that the treatment is painful. However, any treatment that involves manipulating the jawbone comes with a level of pain. The jawbones do not fuse until the age of 12 or 13, so if your child is under 12 years, the treatment will be less painful.

Treatment with jaw extenders usually last for a year; it may be longer depending on how much movement the teeth need. After treatment, you may need retainers for a while so the new bone can grow and for the correction to be permanent.

  • Reverse pull headgear

You may decide to use a reverse pull face mask or headgear. The thought of using this treatment option is scary to most people, but it is a normal option for fixing an underbite. The dentist fits the headgear by resting it on the forehead and chin then attaches it to braces or a retainer using elastic bands to pull the upper teeth into their right position gradually.

You can use the headgear with a chin cap or cup which fit over the head from the crown to the chin. Chin caps help to reduce the growth of the lower jaw, and this helps to align the upper and lower teeth.

To maximise your treatment with a headgear, wear the headgear as often as you can, especially at night. You or your child may find it difficult to wear the aligners outdoors, but following your orthodontist's advice will help keep your treatment on track.

  • Underbite braces

You can use braces alongside the treatment options above, and you can use braces for other orthodontic issues like overbite, crossbite, and open bite. Underbite braces can twist, pull, and move the teeth into better positions.

The NHS only offers metal braces to patients who have an underbite and are qualified to receive treatment under the NHS. If you want other less noticeable types of braces like clear braces, you will get it at a private dental clinic. After correcting your underbite with braces, you will need to wear retainers to keep the teeth in their right positions for a long time.

  • Invisalign for underbite

You can use Invisalign for different cases of an underbite. Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, and this makes them the preferred option for most persons who do not want the more prominent metal braces.

Your dentist may recommend Invisalign alone to treat your underbite or include it in the course of treatment that also includes an underbite surgery.  Before you can get Invisalign, your dentist will examine your teeth and jaw to check if you are suitable for it or you can use the Invisalign free smile assessment.

RECENT GOOGLE REVIEWS

Firstly what a great dentist, all the staff were friendly and very helpful as this was my first time here.

I had called for an emergency appointment due to a sudden cracked tooth and Dr Wahab Shakir despite the end of day fast approaching (30 minutes till close) he said he would see me.

The treatment was not straight forward due to the crack but Dr Shakir after a lengthy time managed to save the tooth/restore it and prevent what I believe most dentists would have done which install a crown - Thank you!

Highly recommend this dentist and service and I am grateful for not only seeing me within an hour but also staying passed closing time and finally for doing a Stella job.

This is a top notch dentist who makes you feel at ease which for someone liked me is important. The staff are very professional, polite, courteous and friendly. Marios, my dentist is extremely patient and cares about your dental care and the service you receive. Just received my new dentures and they have been done to a very high standard and am very pleased. I have nothing but praise for the staff and the treatment/service I received.

Tooth extraction

Sometimes, having too many teeth can lead to an underbite. In this case, the dentist may recommend tooth extraction before fitting braces. This creates more space for the braces to rest and work effectively.

Your dentist will carry out the tooth extraction under local anaesthetic, but sometimes general anaesthetic may be better, especially if you need multiple teeth extractions. Tooth extraction is a simple, quick, and painless procedure. To remove a tooth, the dentist will push and twist the tooth to remove it from its socket, then take it out.

Underbite surgery

If the underbite is severe, you may need surgery to correct it. An underbite surgery may involve several steps, depending on the cause of the problem.

Your dentist may have to reposition and push back your lower jaw or only focus on the upper jaw. Both ways require small screws and plates that your dentist will insert around the bone to ensure they do not move to their previous position.  In a few cases, the patient may require adjustment on both the upper and lower jaw.

Your dentist will inform you about changes to expect at the end of your treatment even before the procedure.  Some common changes after underbite surgery include:

  • Improved speech
  • Decreased risk of enamel erosion and tooth decay
  • Better dental hygiene
  • Different face shape

Underbite surgery is a common treatment for underbite, if you are concerned about your result, ask your dentist for before and after photos of some patients that used the surgery to correct their underbite.

You would not have visible scars after the surgery because your dentist will make all the incisions inside your mouth. Your dentist may wire your jaws after surgery or place an internal frame in your mouth to ensure the bones heal in their correct position.

After your underbite surgery, you may need to take two weeks off from your normal activities to recover, and you may need braces before or after your surgery.

Case 4 Befor Case 4 After
Case 18 Befor Case 18 After

Summary of underbite treatment

Treatment option

Removable, long term or permanent?

Duration of treatment

The ideal age for treatment

Upper jaw extender

Some are removable while others are fixed

One year for the movement and one year to hold the position

Before 13 years

Reverse pull face headgear

Removable

About a year

Before ten years

Chin cap

Removeable

About a year

Before ten years

Underbite braces, including Invisalign

Traditional braces are fixed, while Invisalign is removable

1 – 3 years

Once all adult teeth come through

Tooth extraction

Permanent

A visit to the dentist

Once all adult teeth come through

Underbite surgery

Permanent

Depends on the complexity of the surgery is, recovery takes 2 – 4 weeks

16 – 18 years

The link between underbite, cleft palate and lip

The likelihood that babies born with a cleft palate or cleft lip will also develop underbite is high. This is because their upper teeth and jaw bone have not developed properly.

Generally, people with an underbite, cleft palate or lip will need an underbite surgery to correct these problems. The dentist may fix both issues during surgery or decide to carry out surgeries to correct them separately.

You may get these surgeries on the NHS, and in this case, the NHS Cleft Team will walk you through the treatment.

Underbite correction on the NHS

Getting an underbite surgery on the NHS costs nothing for children below the age of 18, while adults pay the band three treatment charge of £269.30. The NHS only cover medically necessary dental treatments for adults, and often, underbites fall in this category.

Your dentist will let you know if you are eligible for underbite treatment on the NHS, and the NHS will cover the cost of everything you need for the treatment, including braces before and after the surgery.

Conclusion

Underbites are not as common as overbites, and only about 5 – 10% of the population has the condition. Treating underbite is necessary because it could cause further complications. Underbite treatment helps to improve oral health and boost self-esteem, and there are different types of treatments available for underbite.

If the dentist diagnoses an underbite on time, especially in babies, it increases the chances of using less invasive treatment options. The success rate of the treatment is also high, and even if the child needs surgery, it will make a difference in the child's oral health and general wellbeing.

You don't have to use conspicuous metal braces to straighten your teeth as there are other less noticeable options like Invisalign.

If you want to get an underbite treatment suitable for your case, contact Museum Dental Suites today on
0207 183 0886 to book an appointment with an experienced orthodontist.

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RECENT GOOGLE REVIEWS

Highly recommend Museum Dental Suite. Their work is of the highest calibre, professional and friendly. I'm very thankful they for excellent aftercare advice and for making me relaxed and so well treated. I've recommended them to both my family and friends.

I have been undertaking a cosmetic treatment (Invisalign) for around eight months here, off the back of a recommendation of a friend who had the same treatment. The professionalism and perfectionism with which my treatment was delivered was outstanding, as was the general service and were all of the staff I encountered.

My dentist Dr. Wahab Shakir was particularly great, with a friendly, reassuring manner and an eye for detail. He always went above and beyond, without ever being asked.

I'm now almost at the end of my treatment and couldn't be more pleased with how treatment has gone. Given the service and end result I'd also consider it excellent value for money.

Keep up the good work Museum Dental Suites!

Firstly what a great dentist, all the staff were friendly and very helpful as this was my first time here.

I had called for an emergency appointment due to a sudden cracked tooth and Dr Wahab Shakir despite the end of day fast approaching (30 minutes till close) he said he would see me.

The treatment was not straight forward due to the crack but Dr Shakir after a lengthy time managed to save the tooth/restore it and prevent what I believe most dentists would have done which install a crown - Thank you!

Highly recommend this dentist and service and I am grateful for not only seeing me within an hour but also staying passed closing time and finally for doing a Stella job.

This is a top notch dentist who makes you feel at ease which for someone liked me is important. The staff are very professional, polite, courteous and friendly. Marios, my dentist is extremely patient and cares about your dental care and the service you receive. Just received my new dentures and they have been done to a very high standard and am very pleased. I have nothing but praise for the staff and the treatment/service I received.

Best dentist ever hands down. Least painful and least scary experiences here (I'm usually really scared of going to the dentist, and even find the initial anaesthetic injection painful) - they really care about the patient, and making sure you're comfortable, results are also fab. Seriously can't imagine a better dentist!

After lots of research I was very happy with the results and the service at Museum Dental. 100% I would recommend to a friend. I couldn't be more pleased.

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