How to Fix an Underbite Long Beach, CA

Another orthodontic concern we see at Garlington Orthodontics is an underbite. An underbite is a type of dental issue where the lower teeth extend past the upper teeth when the mouth is closed. This condition can affect the way you look, speak, and chew. 

An underbite can cause a lot of challenges. With the right treatment and care, you can achieve a healthy and aligned smile. Understanding the causes, problems, and treatment options for an underbite is the first step toward addressing this condition. If you suspect you have an underbite, schedule a visit with Dr. Garlington to explore your treatment options. Let us help you start your journey towards a better smile.

Underbite in Long Beach, CA

Underbites in Long Beach, CA

An underbite occurs when the lower jaw protrudes forward. This causes the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth. This creates a noticeable misalignment that can affect both appearance and function. An underbite can range from mild, where the lower teeth slightly overlap the upper teeth, to severe, where the teeth do not touch at all when the mouth is closed.

Several factors can cause a patient to develop an underbite, from genetics to trauma. The most common cause of an underbite is genetics. If one or both of your parents had an underbite, there’s a higher chance you might have one, too. The shape and size of your jaw and teeth are often inherited. Along with genetics, the lower jaw can grow faster than the upper jaw, leading to an underbite. This imbalance in growth can cause the lower teeth to protrude.

Certain habits during childhood, such as thumb sucking, prolonged use of a pacifier, or bottle feeding beyond the infant years, can contribute to an underbite. Furthermore, an injury to the jaw can sometimes result in an underbite if the jaw heals in a misaligned position.

Some medical conditions and syndromes, such as Crouzon syndrome or Treacher-Collins syndrome, can affect jaw development and lead to an underbite.

How We Can Fix an Underbite

Treating an underbite often requires orthodontic intervention. The type of treatment depends on how severe of an underbite. The age of the patient also affects the treatment options.

  • Braces: Braces, along with other orthodontic devices, such as rubber bands or headgear, can achieve the best results.
  • Invisalign: Clear aligners can treat mild to moderate underbites.
  • Expanders: For children whose jaws are still growing, a palatal expander can help widen the upper jaw to correct an underbite.
  • Tooth Extraction: In some cases, removing one or more teeth can create the space needed to realign the jaw and correct the underbite.

If you have an underbite, you need to seek out the right treatment. Otherwise, you may experience unwanted symptoms. For example, An underbite can make it hard to bite and chew food properly. This can lead to digestive problems if food you can’t chew your food well before swallowing. Additionally, an underbite can affect the way you speak, making it difficult to pronounce certain words and sounds clearly.

Many people with an underbite experience jaw pain and discomfort. The misalignment of the jaw can cause tension and pain in the jaw muscles, leading to discomfort or even chronic jaw pain. The improper alignment of teeth can also cause uneven wear and tear. Unfortunately, this can increase your risk of tooth damage and cavities.