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Do Braces Fix an Underbite?

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Underbites, though less common than other dental alignment issues like crowding or overbites, often require more intricate treatment strategies. An underbite, a type of malocclusion, occurs when the lower teeth extend further forward than the upper teeth when the jaws are closed.

Understanding underbites

In an ideal alignment, the upper teeth slightly overlap the lower teeth. In mild underbite cases, the upper teeth are just behind the lower teeth, and in more severe cases, the upper teeth sit fully behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.

Addressing underbites early

It’s best to tackle an underbite as early as possible. While the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a first orthodontic visit at age 7, starting at age 5 can be even more beneficial, especially for underbites. Early diagnosis allows for interceptive treatment to correct or lessen the severity of the issue. Underbites can lead to challenges such as difficulty biting and chewing, speech impediments, an increased risk of tooth damage, accelerated tooth wear, and chronic jaw pain.

The orthodontics in woodland hills approach

At Orthodontics in Woodland Hills, we assess potential underbite issues by examining factors like jaw size, bite, facial growth patterns, tooth eruption patterns, and family history. This comprehensive evaluation helps us create effective early treatment plans. For children under 10, treatments often involve palatal expanders and reverse pull headgear to correct the underbite by adjusting jaw growth.

Early treatment options

For younger patients, a palatal expander widens the upper jaw, while reverse pull headgear helps bring the upper jaw forward, aligning it properly over the lower jaw. These methods are effective in children due to their more malleable jawbones.

Treatment for older patients

For those over 13, braces, often in combination with other methods, are commonly used to correct underbites. In mild cases, braces and elastic bands can realign the teeth and jaw effectively. In more severe instances, tooth extraction or even jaw surgery may be necessary to achieve proper alignment and function.

Braces and underbites

Yes, braces can fix underbites, typically alongside other treatments. The strategy varies depending on the underbite’s severity and the patient’s specific anatomy. Braces adjust tooth positioning, while elastic bands help to continuously move the upper jaw forward until proper alignment is achieved.

Additional treatment options

  • Camouflaging. In mild cases, camouflaging can aesthetically correct an underbite without altering jaw position, by reshaping teeth to improve their fit.
  • Extraction. To make space for alignment in moderate underbites, tooth extraction is sometimes used, followed by braces to align the teeth and elastics to advance the upper jaw.
  • Surgery. For severe underbites, jaw surgery might be the most effective treatment, offering benefits like an improved facial profile, enhanced function, and potentially easier breathing.

Finding the right treatment

The only way to truly determine the best treatment for an underbite is through a professional orthodontic consultation. By assessing your specific situation, an orthodontist can recommend the most effective treatment plan for you.

Robert Haynes, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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