An underbite is medically called prognathism and classified as, “Class III malocclusion.” It is a condition where in the lower teeth and the jaw protrude in front of the upper teeth.
In a normal bite, it should be the upper teeth that slightly cover the bottom teeth. In the case of severe underbite, it is the other way around.
Severe underbite significantly affects the function of the teeth as well as your appearance. In a severe case, the two rows of the teeth almost touch each other and over time, the gap becomes wider and wider.
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Causes and Complications of severe underbite
Misalignment of the lower jaw is one of the primary causes of underbite.
People with Crouzon syndrome or basal cell nevus syndrome, which is a hereditary condition, might show signs of underbite.
Severe underbite can also be caused by gigantism. If any of your parents have underbite, then most likely you will suffer from underbite too.
Aside from the genetic factor, there are other possible causes of underbite such as thumb sucking, overuse of a pacifier or baby feeding bottle.
It is important for a person to seek severe underbite correction as soon as possible because such a problem will inhibit chewing and will cause strain not only in the teeth, but in the jaw muscles as well.
Severe underbite problem can lead to eating difficulties. It can also affect your manner of speaking. It can even get to the point where a tooth decays due to excessive wear of the enamel.
Chronic pain can also occur, especially in the jaw, head, and ears. There is also a possibility of bad breath and bacterial infections due to constant mouth-breathing. Night time breathing difficulties are also possible.
Before the condition becomes unmanageable, it is important to seek expert help as soon as possible. Book a consultation at a highly reputable orthodontics to manage and correct the problem.
There are various methods used for underbite correction. The type of method used varies depending on the severity of the condition. Hence, a thorough assessment should be done before coming up with a treatment and management plan.
Underbite Correction Methods
There are several ways to correct underbite problem. It could be corrected with the use of orthodontic appliances or if the condition is extreme, a surgery is needed.
The key to successful severe underbite correction is addressing the problem right away. Necessary steps should be taken while the patient is young. Mild cases can be corrected by simply wearing a correcting appliance.
Young children should undergo orthodontic screening to detect any potential problems.
Corrective Appliance for Severe Underbite
- Braces – Underbite problems can be corrected with the use of braces. The traditional brace is made from metals, but if you are self-conscious you can opt for clear braces, which are less noticeable.
- Upper jaw expander – It is a wire-frame device that is place across the palate of the patient. A special key is used to widen the expander every night. It will cause the upper jaw to widen and eventually the lower teeth will no longer touch the upper teeth. Upper jaw expander is worn for a year, and once desired result is achieved, it will be replaced by a retainer.
Severe underbite correction could mean addressing the problem through surgery.
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, orthognathic jaw surgery is needed for extreme case of underbite problem.
The surgeon separates the bones of the rear and front part of the jaw. In other words, the jaw is repositioned in its normal place so as to improve its look and function.
The significance of maintaining oral health
Severe underbite is a condition you should not take lightly. The earlier you notice it, the sooner you will be able to correct it.
It is a must to maintain good oral health. Make it a habit to brush your teeth regularly, including flossing and rinsing with high quality dental care products.
If you are not a dentist, it can be very hard to tell the difference in the way you bite down. True enough, alignment is seldom perfect. But it is still a must to regularly visit a dental professional.
Children should be brought to orthodontics as early as age six. Why? At this age, the teeth are still developing and the jaw is forming. Any conditions or abnormalities can be easily addressed and corrected.
The orthodontist can assess if the child needs to wear dental appliance to significantly improve the smile and functions of the jaw and teeth. A treatment may still be needed later on in life but it will not be as extensive as with those who do not see orthodontist when they are younger.
You should not disregard the importance of early treatment and management for severe underbite problems. Make it a habit to visit an orthodontist, who will be able to detect and correct any issues that emerge. Entrust the well-being of your oral health only to professional orthodontist or dentist.
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