Clinically referred to as a Class III Malocclusion, an underbite occurs when the bottom teeth noticeably protrude beyond the upper teeth.
Genetics Play a Major Role in Whether You Develop an Underbite
If one of your parents or grandparents had an underbite, there is a much larger chance that you will, too. In addition, certain ethnic groups are more likely to develop underbites, including those of Asian descent.
A famous example of the genetic nature of this trait is the “Habsburg jaw.” Many generations of the royal Habsburg family in Europe were known for their distinctive protruding lower jaws, which are believed to have been the result of an underbite.
Certain Environmental Factors Can Cause an Underbite
Constant thrusting of the tongue against the teeth can move your smile out of position and cause an underbite.
Habits such as thumb sucking and pacifier use in early childhood can also affect the way the jaw develops.
Breathing through your mouth forces the tongue to rest against the lower jaw and increases the chance of an underbite.
Your Dentist Can Diagnose Jaw Issues During a Routine Exam
In most cases, an underbite is easy to identify with a simple visual exam. However, your dentist or orthodontist will likely perform a complete evaluation of your teeth and jaw to determine the severity of your condition.
During the appointment, your dentist may take x-rays, photographs, and impressions to examine the specific relationship between your teeth, jaws, and head.
Early Intervention May Help a Child Avoid an Underbite
Limit Pacifier and Bottle Use
Parents of young children can help their child’s jaw form properly by limiting their pacifier and bottle use. Speak to your doctor or a dentist about the best time to begin this process.
Treat Mouth Breathing
If you notice your child snores or breathes through their mouth, you may be able to prevent issues in jaw development by treating these concerns early.
Braces Are the Most Common Treatment for an Underbite
The most commonly used treatment for underbites and other bite issues is orthodontics. Metal braces can adjust the position of teeth and improve jaw alignment to address an underbite.
Your Orthodontist Can Find the Right Treatment for You
Aligners For minor underbites, clear aligners, such as Invisalign®, can provide results.
Special Appliances Devices, such as expanders, retainers, or headgear, may be used to treat an underbite.
Surgery Severe underbites may require surgery. However, jaw surgery is typically only performed as a last resort.
Please call(919)-205-5167to schedule an appointment for our dental services in Cary, NC.