Almost half of all American people have gum disease to some degree. While many things can cause this issue, nothing can exacerbate it quite as much as improper tooth alignment.
If you have an underbite, it’s hard to brush and floss your teeth the way you should. It can cause self-esteem issues and lead to other health problems as well.
Now the question is, how to fix an underbite? There are plenty of treatments out there that are available to you.
All you have to do is talk to your orthodontist. Check out this helpful guide to learn what treatments you should discuss during your appointment.
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What is an Underbite?
An underbite happens when your bottom teeth protrude over your top ones to a certain degree. It’s not quite as common as its counterpart, the overbite.
Most minor underbites can be fixed with braces and other simple solutions. If you have a severe underbite, however, your only avenue may be surgery.
What Causes Underbites?
If you have an underbite, you can thank your mom or dad for it. Most of the time, this issue is genetic, so it can’t be avoided. It’s rare, but certain childhood behaviors such as thumb sucking can increase your likelihood of developing an underbite.
Why Does the Problem Need Correcting?
You won’t need underbite correction at all if your case is mild enough. If your problem is a little more severe, you will have to do something about it or you’ll run into complications.
An unaligned jaw causes a great deal of stress that can result in painful headaches and earaches. Your teeth may grow crooked, which makes them hard to brush. After a while, your teeth will become weak and prone to breakage.
You’ll have a hard time trying to talk, swallow, chew, and even breathe. Many people with under and overbites develop self-esteem issues. The list goes on.
One of the most common ways to fix an underbite is with braces. For many, telling them that they need braces feels like the end of the world. Metal braces can be uncomfortable and most adults find that they don’t look professional.
While metal braces are certainly the cheapest option, they aren’t by any means your only option. An underbite can be fixed using Invisalign. They’re more comfortable and nobody will be able to tell you’re even wearing them.
How long you have to wear your braces depends on how bad your underbite is. You may only have to wear them for half a year or so if your problem is minor.
Both underbites and overbites have one side effect in common. They can cause massive teeth crowding. One strategy to fix this is to perform a tooth extraction.
As the name suggests, your dentist will remove one or more of your teeth to free up some room. Over time, the teeth that you have left will shift into the correct place and fix your underbite. The procedure is pretty quick and your dentist will use an anesthetic, so you won’t feel a thing.
Upper Jaw Expanders
An upper jaw expander is fit across the roof of your mouth and is held in place using your top molars as an anchor. As you wear it, the device will slowly pull your jaw back into place.
You’ll have a plastic key that you use to adjust the expander. Your orthodontist can show you how to use it and tell you how often you’ll need to adjust the device.
You’ll have to wear the expander for three months or so. You’ll have regular orthodontist appointments to help keep you on track with your treatment.
If your problem is bad enough, an orthodontist may suggest that you wear a chin cap while you sleep. The device fits around your chin and wraps around to clip onto the top of your head.
The purpose of the device is to stop your lower jaw from growing and gently coax it back into place. Since it has to be fitted to meet your individual needs, the only way you can get one of these special caps is by seeing your orthodontist.
Reverse Face Mask
This device has a forehead and chin rest with a bar that attaches to the front top teeth. After a while, it will pull the teeth into the correct position.
Many believe that this device looks silly, but like with the chin cap, you don’t have to wear it 24/7. They must be prescribed to you by an orthodontist.
There comes a time when these treatment options aren’t enough. The only thing you have left is to try corrective jaw surgery. It involves going in and separating the rear portion of your jaw and tweaking it so that the lower portion that’s responsible for your teeth has the chance to move back into alignment.
If your dentist thinks this is a good idea, they’ll do a brief consultation and examination to determine if the procedure is right for you. In some cases, you might be able to get your insurance company to cover some of the surgery cost.
How to Fix an Underbite and Straighten Your Smile
If left unchecked, underbites can lead to headaches, tooth decay, and a bunch of other unpleasant health issues. The good news is that there a lot of methods of fixing it.
So, what are you waiting for? Make a dentist appointment today and ask them how to fix an underbite and straighten your smile for good.
Now that your teeth are aligned, it’s time to work on your oral hygiene routine. Check out the health section of our blog for more ways to take care of your pearly whites.