Many people are born with teeth that are less than perfectly aligned, and one common misalignment is an underbite. Whether mild, moderate or severe, there are effective treatment options for underbites through clear aligners, braces and oral surgery.
What is an Underbite?
An underbite occurs when the lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw, making the lower teeth jut out. Dentists and orthodontists officially classify the condition as a prognathism or Class III malocclusion, but most people know the condition simply as an “underbite.”
People recognize this condition because it’s visually noticeable. Even minor cases are aesthetically unpleasing and can negatively affect a person’s confidence, and severe cases can have other detrimental effects.
Severe Underbites Are Harmful to Your Health
Severe underbites can have multiple negative effects on a person’s health, which go beyond how a person emotionally feels about their smile. Depending on the specifics of a severe underbite, it can lead to:
- Jaw pain
- Tooth decay (cavities and root canals)
- Gum disease (gingivitis)
- Speech problems
- Chewing difficulties
- Swallowing difficulties
Moreover, these issues are unlikely to resolve themselves if they’re caused by an underbite in a child. As a child grows, the effects of an underbite will usually remain the same or worsen. This is one condition that time alone can’t heal.
Underbite Correction is Available
The good news is that treatment is widely available for most people who suffer from underbites. Children less than 7 years old should wait to have their underbite corrected, for treatment isn’t recommended before the teeth and jaw reach a certain point in development. For those who are at least 7 years old (or much older), the following potential treatments are available.
Laster Perfect Smile
Laster Perfect Smile Aligners for Underbites are suitable for many mild and moderate cases, and they’re especially well-suited for mild cases. The primary reason to correct a mild underbite is aesthetic, and Laster Perfect Smile clear aligners are a low-visibility way to realign teeth. They don’t have metal wires like braces do, and they’re clear so that the plastic is see-through. Most people find clear aligners are also easier to care for than braces, and they can provide a quick correction in minor cases.
Braces for Underbites are usually well-suited for moderate cases or cases that are complicated with other alignment issues. Braces are a well-known way to adjust teeth that are out of their ideal positions, and this continues to be one of the most effective correction methods.
In extreme cases of underbite, oral surgery may be necessary. An orthodontist can determine whether braces are sufficient or if oral surgery is advisable, and they can provide a referral to an oral surgeon if necessary.
Tackling Underbites Early is Recommended
While children should wait until age 7 to undergo an underbite correction, this is a condition that should be treated during childhood. Clear aligners and braces treatments progress faster and are easier in children than they are in adults. Delaying treatment beyond childhood will only increase how long treatment will take whenever the correction is made.
If there’s any question as to exactly when is the best time for a child to undergo treatment for an underbite, an orthodontist can provide knowledgeable advice. In particular. Dr. Laster has extensive experience treating children’s underbites that he can draw on when discussing the particulars of a specific child’s case. Depending on the particulars, he may recommend treatment right at age7 or a later age. Treatment sometime during childhood is almost always advisable, though.
Dr. Laster is an Underbite Expert
Dr. Laster of Laster Orthodontics is an experienced orthodontist and an underbite expert who serves the Raleigh, North Carolina area. He’s successfully treated many patients who had underbites with clear aligners or braces, depending on which treatment is better for each individual case. He’s also able to provide a referral to an oral surgeon if necessary for an extreme case.
If you suffer from an underbite, whether it’s mild or severe, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Laster today. It’s an easy first step toward a more beautiful smile.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster's in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.