An underbite makes your front teeth vulnerable to damage, including chips, cracks, and enamel erosion. At Harper Orthodontics in Martinez, California, board-certified orthodontist Stephen Harper, DDS, uses modern treatments to realign your jaw if you have an underbite. Call Harper Orthodontics today or schedule an appointment online to learn more about underbite treatment.
An underbite is an orthodontic condition where your lower teeth overlap your upper teeth. Underbites commonly occur in the front teeth, causing the lower teeth to appear as if they’re jutting outward. The condition is more than an aesthetic concern. If you have an underbite, your teeth are more likely to fracture due to uneven pressure.
Treating an underbite protects your tooth health and function. Many people with underbites experience speech problems, chewing difficulties, and other issues that affect their quality of life. The sooner you seek treatment for an underbite, the less likely you are to need surgery or other invasive procedures.
Normally, when your teeth emerge, the top teeth fit slightly over your bottom teeth. That alignment allows you to chew and speak comfortably. Many factors can shift this alignment and cause an underbite, including:
Most underbites are genetic. If a close relative has an underbite, you’re more likely to develop one. That’s why early orthodontic consultations are essential. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have an orthodontic consultation by age seven to assess bite abnormalities, like underbites.
Children are more likely to develop an underbite if they suck their thumbs, use pacifiers after age three, or thrust their tongues against their front teeth. Drinking from a bottle for too long can also cause an underbite.
An injury to the face can break the jawbone. Even if you’ve had surgery to treat a broken jawbone, your teeth may not align as they should.
Dr. Harper practices conservative dentistry and only recommends early orthodontics when your child’s underbite interferes with their tooth and jaw development. If necessary, he may suggest phase 1 orthodontics, such as:
Adults with mild to moderate underbites usually need braces or Invisalign® to realign the teeth and jaw. Severe underbites typically require surgery. If you have a severe underbite, Dr. Harper can refer you to an oral surgeon.
To learn more about underbites, call Harper Orthodontics today or schedule an appointment online.