Your smile can significantly influence your social life, career, and relationships. After all, people are more likely to find you approachable and friendly if you have a smile ready for people you meet and communicate with.
Likewise, an imperfect smile can greatly affect one’s self-esteem. You are less likely to smile if you have an imperfection that makes you insecure about showing your teeth. One of the most common teeth imperfections is an underbite.
In this article, we will run you through what an underbite is and what options we recommend for correcting it.
What Is an Underbite?
Your bite refers to how your upper and lower teeth line up. In a normal bite, your upper teeth sit slightly forward of the lower teeth. However, very few people have a perfect bite.
If you have an underbite, your lower jaw may be positioned so that your lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. There are varying degrees of severity for this issue, from mild misalignments to more pronounced deformities.
What Causes Underbites?
Genetics plays a major role in developing an underbite. Your family genetics can determine your tooth size and spacing, jaw shape, and whether you will have an underbite or overbite. However, other factors can contribute to developing an underbite, such as:
- Bad habits – You may have developed habits in your younger years, such as sucking your thumb, prolonged use of a pacifier, or long-term bottle feeding. These bad habits can push the tongue against the teeth, which leads to an underbite.
- Facial injuries – Accidents that affect the facial bones, especially the jaw, may make it difficult to properly put these bones back together. Some post-injury repairs may cause an underbite.
- Tumors – A tumor may develop near your mouth and jaw, which can impact your jaw’s alignment and cause deformities.
What Are the Side Effects of an Underbite?
Other than being a cosmetic concern that affects your confidence, an underbite may also cause additional difficulties such as:
- Bacterial infections
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing
- Jaw pain or TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)
- Sleep apnea
- Speech impediments
- Tooth decay
What Underbite Corrections Are Available?
It’s easier to correct an underbite during childhood, so your family dentist may monitor your or your child to catch it early. However, underbites can also be treated in later years.
To avoid or treat these difficulties, your dentist may recommend an underbite correction treatment. The type and duration of your treatment depend on several factors, including the severity of your underbite.
You may be recommended several options, including:
- Orthodontic treatment – This is the least invasive option, which involves using metal braces or Invisalign clear aligners to improve the alignment of the teeth. These are often applied with orthodontic appliances such as reverse-pull face masks and upper jaw expanders for better results.
- Cosmetic correction – This method is usually applied for minor underbites caused by misshapen teeth. This process involves reshaping the teeth and attaching dental veneers to improve your smile.
- Underbite surgery – Surgical intervention may be needed for severe underbites caused by the jaw’s shape and alignment.
- Jaw surgery – This involves removing your rear jaw, altering it for a better fit, and moving it in a better position. This can take up to a year to heal completely, but you should be able to return to normal activity within a few weeks.
An imperfect smile due to an underbite not only affects your self-confidence but also causes health issues. Fortunately, there are various underbite correction treatments available for you to get this issue resolved.
Are you in need of a dentist in Marietta to correct your underbite? With our exceptional dental services, our team at Kabani Dental can give you the healthy and beautiful smile you deserve. Schedule your appointment today!