It’s hard to go through life with an underbite, mismatched upper and lower jaws that result in a prominent chin and jaw line. If you have an underbite, it simply means that your lower jaw is positioned too far back. However, school-age children with this condition are often taunted by their peers – and can even be given cruel nicknames such as “Jaws” or “Chinny-chin-chin.” It’s easy to see how an underbite could potentially lead to low self-esteem as an adult, along with oral health problems such as jaw joint pain, headaches and difficulty chewing food.
How Are Underbites Treated?
Treatments for underbites vary, depending on a patient’s age and underlying health condition. During childhood, the jaw grows slowly and gradually. Sometimes the upper and lower jaw may not grow in a proportionate way, causing one to noticeably protrude more than the other. If your underbite is related only to misaligned teeth, then your dentist may recommend orthodontics (or “braces”) to treat the condition.
However if your bite problem (or “malocclusion”) is due to disproportionate jaw growth, then you may need corrective jaw surgery for underbite treatment. Some people need a combination of orthodontics and surgery, beginning with a preoperative orthodontic setup. After an orthodontist aligns the dental arches, an oral surgeon performs the corrective jaw surgery to fix one or both jaws in the new correct position. Following oral surgery, orthodontic treatment lasts until all teeth are brought into a perfect bite, or “occlusion.”
Since there are a variety of different causes and treatments for underbites, it’s important that you are educated on all of the necessary information before taking any course of action. Consult with one of our oral surgeons to see if you need corrective jaw surgery for your underbite.