What is an underbite?
An underbite is the name given to an orthodontic concern characterised by a lower jaw that extends forward ahead of the upper jaw. Often referred to as a “Class III malocclusion” or “prognathism”, it often gives the sufferer an outward appearance of a prominent chin and a “concave” profile.
What causes it?
- An underbite is often hereditary, but may also be the result of:
- The development or under-development of the jaw and dentition (“teeth”)
- Tongue-thrusting, where your tongue pushes forward against the front teeth when you swallow
- Habits such as thumb-sucking
- Misuse of dummies or baby bottles while the mouth and teeth were developing
What impact does it have?
While an underbite may have a cosmetic impact on the sufferer, it may also affect your ability to bite, chew, comfortably close your lips, and even talk. It may also put undue pressure on one or more of your jaw joints and cause premature tooth wear, and even dental trauma.
How is it treated?
An underbite can be treated in several ways; more severe cases are often best treated with a combined surgical and orthodontic approach, where others may be treated with the removal of teeth and orthodontic treatment, or simply orthodontic treatment alone.
To find out more about underbites, and your treatment options, contact us today to organise a free consultation with Specialist Orthodontist, Dr David Austin.