Also known as prognathism, an underbite is a condition in which your bottom jaw protrudes out beyond your upper jaw. This misalignment is usually present at birth and ranges in severity.
Your bottom teeth may be just over your upper teeth or there may be a rather extensive gap. An underbite can cause a number of problems, but fortunately it is highly treatable.
Underbite Issues Depending upon the extent of your underbite, you can suffer a number of problems:
Difficulty eating and speaking.
Uneven tooth wear. With your bite off, your teeth wear unevenly. This can lead to other problems such as sensitivity or tooth decay.
TMD. Temporomandibular disorder is pain in the temporomandibular joint, the point at which your upper and lower jawbones meet. Aside from pain, you may have difficulty opening your mouth, facial pain, headaches and earaches.
Self-consciousness. Your lower jaw protruding can cause you to be self-conscious about your appearance.
Correcting an Underbite The severity of your underbite will often determine the type of treatment that will suit you and produce the best possible results. Many underbites can be corrected with treatments. Small underbites can be fixed with braces.
An upper jaw expander may be needed. This treatment involves placing a wire device across the roof of your mouth that gets widened a little bit each night using a special key. Another treatment uses a device that looks similar to headgear to pull your jaw back into the right position.
More severe cases may require corrective surgery. In this procedure, the oral surgeon separates the bone and modifies it to reposition the bottom teeth. The jaw is then placed in the right position and held in place with either wires or plates while it heals.
An underbite doesn't have to get in your way. Contact our office about your options for fixing it, allowing you to eat and speak better and increase your self-confidence.
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