Underbite is the medical term used to describe the jawrelationship. There are also some other medical terms you might hear from yourdoctors, such as prognathism or Class III malocclusion. Whatever they call it,the condition is caused by abnormal protrusion of lower jaw. The lower jaw protrudesforward and people looking from a side usually see that these people have moreprominent chin and lower jaw than normal. These patients also have problems withtheir teeth, because their lower teeth overlap the front teeth.
This condition is quite common, and it is estimated than 5to 10% of world population suffers from it. Underbite may be caused by breathingfrom the mouth, long term use of feeding bottles and pacifiers, thrusting of atongue, thumb sucking or sometimes bad chewing habits. This medical condition mightalso be genetic and you may have inherited it from your parents.
Underbite should be taken care of as soon as possible, forit could lead to poor bite, joint problems (temporomandibular joint disorder)and worn out teeth. If it’s diagnosed in children, under the age of 8, it ismore easily treated than in older children and adults. That’s because jaw bonesin young children are still developing and they could be fixed without thesurgical procedure. Also, there is an aesthetic appeal, which makes many adultsundergo a surgery, to correct their teeth and get a perfect smile. The correctionmainly depends on the age of a patient and seriousness of underbite protrusion.
Children Underbite Correction
First corrective measures can be done at the age of 5, andthey are everything most dentist and doctors will recommend, until the child is8 years old. At that point, specialists suggest using upper jaw expanders. Theseare plastic and wire molds, designed to fix the roof of the mouth, recommendedto be used for a year. Parents are asked to open the expander every week or so,to a small degree for a couple of months. After some time expander is usuallychanged with the device designed to fix the upper jaw in that new position untilit hardens. This device is also known as retainer.
If the child is 8 or 9, specialists recommend reverse-pullmasks, sometimes even with chin cap, if found necessary. They should be worn everyday, when the kid is not at school.
Adult Underbite Correction
Teenagers and adults can only be surgically treated forunderbite. Rarely, braces alone can fix the existing condition. Usually,patients are expected to wear orthodontic braces for some time before and afterthe surgical procedure.