What is an underbite?
An underbite occurs when the lower front teeth protude in front of the upper front teeth. In these cases, the lower jaw has outgrown the upper jaw, causing it to stick out in front when biting the teeth together. Some underbites are caused by a lack of growth in the upper jaw and it is advisable to have children assessed by age 7.
Underbites are usually caused by genetic and hereditary factors relating to jaw development. Underbites occur much less commonly than overbites.
Problems associated with underbites
Underbites, if left untreated, can lead to the following problems:
- an un-aesthetic looking upper lip and nose
- jaw pain
- uneven tooth wear and tooth sensitivity
- gum disease involving bone loss
- a need for surgical correction at a later age
- a risk of developing sleep apnoea at an early age
Can an underbite be fixed with braces?
In younger children, up to age 5 or 6, and whose adult front teeth are yet to erupt, it is not uncommon for an apparent underbite. With the arrival of the adult front teeth, many of these will spontaneously correct. However, it is really important to get underbites assessed by age 7 as many treatments are best done when the upper jaw is at a critical early stage of development.
In most cases, underbites can be fixed by orthodontic treatments. We’ll help you find the best solution for your underbite.