Do you suffer from an underbite?
If so, you’re not alone. About 5-10% of the population lives with an underbite smile, and many of them seek underbite correction.
Here, we’re helping you understand what an underbite is, what causes it, and how you can fix it at home or at your dentist’s office.
What is an Underbite?
An underbite, more formally referred to as prognathism, occurs when the bottom front teeth overlap the top front teeth when you close your mouth naturally. This is due to the lower jaw protruding further than the upper jaw, creating a malocclusion.
Why Do I Have One?
People develop underbites for several reasons including:
- an inherited gene
- lower jaw misalignment
- thumb sucking
- mouth breathing
- bad chewing habits
- pushing the tongue against the teeth constantly
The most common reason is genetics.
Is an Underbite Bad?
Aside from causing many people to feel self-conscious, an underbite can create real problems including:
- difficulty chewing
- trouble with swallowing
- bad breath
- speech problems
- worn enamel and tooth decay from rubbing
- sleep apnea
- facial abnormalities
To clearly answer the question, the problems an underbite can cause are not good at all. In most cases, an underbite requires early intervention from the right dentist.
Adult underbites will not simply go away, but you have several options for correcting your underbite.
How to Fix an Underbite at Home
If your underbite is mild enough to fix yourself, you want to help with what your dentist is already doing, or you simply want to relieve the jaw pain caused by your underbite, try underbite exercises to stretch and strengthen your jaw.
Underbite Exercise 1
In sets of 10, open your jaw wide enough that it stretches but does not hurt, and perform circular motions and then repeat with side to side motions.
Underbite Exercise 2
In sets of 10, open and close your mouth slowly in front of a mirror. Use your hands to pull your jaw and adjust your bite so that you open and close in proper alignment.
Underbite Exercise 3
For a 10 second stretch, use your fingers on the top and bottom to gently open your mouth as wide as possible.
How to Fix an Underbite Professionally
If your underbite requires more than some home exercises, you should seek out professional help.
Your dentist will assess the severity of your underbite and then choose which method will benefit you the most. Here, we’ve listed four different options that you could discuss with your dentist.
Once you know what method you’d like to pursue, click here for a trusted dentist.
Dentists often resort to using two types of braces to correct an underbite.
Reverse pull headgear is worn like a facemask and it pulls the jaw into proper position. Though this method works, dentists do not always select it because it requires patients to wear the gear for up to 14 hours a day.
The other braces option, the upper jaw expander, works in cases of overcrowding or a narrow upper mouth prevents the upper jaw from closing properly. The brace attaches to your top molars and widens the upper area.
Sometimes an overcrowded mouth creates the underbite. In this case, the dentist may be able to correct it by removing crowded teeth to create more space.
Extreme cases may require a surgery that detaches the jaw bone, separating the mandible and maxilla. The surgeon then attaches it so that the lower jaw sits further back.
This aligns the teeth properly for a better bite.
This new approach to dealing with mild underbites fits veneers to the upper teeth and reshapes the lower ones. It alleviates jaw discomfort and provides cosmetic benefits, though does not actually correct the underbite.
Smile Despite Your Bite!
Don’t let your underbite stop you from smiling. Smiles are contagious, even when they’re a little off.
With underbite correction, you can improve your bite and feel more comfortable with your appearance. Check us out for more health and fitness information!