One of your most distinguishing features is your smile. It’s an expression of joy, warmth, and confidence. However, beneath the surface of those radiant smiles, you may sport an unpleasant dental quirk that isn’t as picture-perfect as you’d like- an underbite.
As one of several common bite patterns that can affect not only our appearance but also our oral health, an underbite is something to be taken seriously.
Are underbites, overbites, and other common bite patterns the same?
Overbites, underbites, crossbites – these terms might sound complex, but they are just different ways our upper and lower teeth come together.
An overbite occurs when the upper front teeth vertically overlap the lower ones, while an underbite is when the lower front teeth protrude ahead of the upper ones.
A crossbite is a combination of overbite and underbite, where some parts of your upper teeth overlap the lower teeth and vice versa when the mouth is closed. On the other hand, an open bite is when there’s an obvious vertical gap when your jaws are close.
Causes of underbites
There are different reasons why you may have an underbite.
Genetics can be a key player, as family history can influence your jaw structure.
Childhood habits like prolonged thumb-sucking or using a pacifier can also contribute to the development of an underbite.
Damage to the mouth or jaw can also cause an underbite
Dental crowding can result in an underbite
To correct an underbite, you have to understand its underlying case. Only then can you effectively treat it.
Why is correcting an underbite essential?
Correcting an underbite is not just about aesthetics. Leaving it untreated can lead to a host of problems like jaw pain, difficulty chewing, or even speech issues. Correcting it can significantly improve your quality of life and prevent potential dental complications down the road.
How braces and other orthodontic treatment options can fix underbites
Clear aligners and braces slowly align the teeth by applying light but consistent pressure on specific teeth. As teeth move into better alignment, the underlying jawbone adjusts to the movements by slowly absorbing or generating jawbone tissue as required
Orthodontic treatments for underbites can take between 12 months and 24 months to complete. This timeline can vary depending on the type of braces used and the patient's specific condition.
Types of braces for treating underbites
Braces come in various styles, and choosing the right one is essential in your journey to correct an underbite.
Traditional metal braces
Traditional metal braces are sturdy, effective, and used where headgear treatments won’t suffice.
The braces consist of metal brackets attached to each tooth, with bands placed on the rear molars. The brackets and bands are joined by arch wires that run through the span of each tooth. In turn, the archwires are held securely by ligatures.
Ceramic braces provide a more discreet option for people who are concerned about the physical appearance of traditional metal braces. The material can be color-blended to match the color of your natural tooth.
For those who prefer invisibility, clear aligners like Invisalign offer a near-transparent approach to underbite correction.
Invisalign works specifically for treating underbites stemming from tooth misalignment. You should note, though, that they aren’t compatible with traditional orthodontic headgear appliances.
Achieve the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted
Don't let an underbite or any dental concern hold you back. It's time to take the first step toward achieving the smile you've always dreamed of.
Whether you're considering traditional braces or clear aligners, our team of experts is here to provide you with personalized, top-notch care. Book an appointment today.