If a child has an underbite, early intervention could prevent surgery down the road.
The dentistry professional recommends the initial orthodontic screening by 7 years old. This appointment is to advise a parent if orthodontic treatment is required for their child.
An underbite is the protrusion of the bottom jaw causing the lower teeth to close in front of the upper teeth. It can also be referred to as a class III malocclusion, according to the Dental Care section on the About.com website.
-Pain in the jaw
-Greater chance of wear and tear to the enamel
-Chance of getting cavities are higher
-Self-conscious about looks
Underbites could be caused by genetics, bad chewing habits, a thumb-sucking habit and abnormalities of jaw growth in children.Click here to find out more how to treat under bites in adults.
Fixing an underbite could depend on the severity of the case and the age of the child. There are a number of ways to correcting an underbite.
Expanders are cemented to the upper molars and premolars with metal bands. The metal bands are attached to a metal bar that goes across the roof of the child’s mouth. In the middle of the bar is a key hole for the child to put a turnkey into, activating the device.
This technique is used to make the upper jaw wider and help the bite fit better, as the invisible braces specialist explains. With the child’s cooperation, this could help the bite a great deal.
This device is a metal vertical bar. It is connected to pads on the forehead and chin. The pads are for the comfort of the child. Small rubber elastic bands are connected to the vertical bar and metal bands around the molars.
This technique gradually moves the top jaw forward. It is the most effective when worn between the ages of 5 and 7, and this is why early intervention is important.
This device requires complete cooperation from the child because it has to be worn for a minimum of 12 hours per day.
Chin caps could be added to the reverse-pull headgear device for a difficult underbite case. It goes around the chin and top of the head. This prevents any movement in the bottom jaw.
Surgery is typically the only option for teenagers and adults because the jaw bones have fused together leaving limited room for an easy correction. Occasionally, depending on the severity of the underbite, extractions of teeth in combination with braces could improve the situation; however, the jaw positions generally don’t get better even though the teeth may fit better. Underbite surgery should be performed by an oral surgeon and consists of fracturing and moving the jaw to where it should be.
A liquid diet is required, since jaw movement is limited during the initial healing phases. In very rare cases, the jaw can move back into its original position.
Underbites cannot be left alone and will not fix itself over time. While the child is still young, an exam should be scheduled as soon as possible to prevent the pain of surgery later.