An underbite is a condition that causes the misalignment of the upper and lower teeth. If someone is experiencing an underbite, their lower teeth and jaw will often stick out further than the top teeth. This condition is also commonly referred to as prognathism. The upper teeth are naturally supposed to slightly cover up the bottom teeth to make chewing and other jaw movements easier, but with an underbite, this can prove to be more challenging. In addition to eating troubles, those with an underbite may also have an unnatural look to their mouth and jaw.
What are the Causes?
The most common cause of an underbite is genetics. The shape of the jawline can be passed down for generations. If someone’s parents developed an underbite as children, then there is a good chance that they will also have an underbite. This jaw condition is not always passed down from parents to their children, but the risks of developing an underbite are much higher than someone else without the same family history. While heredity is the primary cause of this condition, it is not the only thing that causes an individual to have a misaligned jaw.
The other primary cause is excessive and constant pressure on the lower teeth. It is very easy for teeth to shift if enough pressure is applied for an extended period of time, especially if it is done at a young age. Some of the most common habits that can put too much pressure on the lower teeth are thumb sucking, continuous thrusting of the tongue and excessive use of a baby bottle or pacifier. Since the teeth and jawline are still developing in childhood, it is very easy for a kid to develop an underbite by putting too much pressure on their lower teeth.
Why Have an Underbite Corrected?
Since an underbite makes the jawline protrude out further than it is supposed to, it can cause a lot of strain and discomfort in the teeth and jaw muscles. Although undergoing orthodontic treatment is not always ideal, it is a good idea to get an underbite corrected as soon as possible.
An underbite can usually be fixed with braces, retainers or headgear. All three of these devices will gradually move the teeth back to their normal position. If these options will not be effective, then surgery can also be performed to fix the most serious cases of this condition. We will discuss your treatment options during your consultation.
Contact Pack Orthodontics today to have your underbite evaluated and treated by Dr. Pack.