Can Braces Fix an Underbite? Expert Insights & Solutions From a Glenview, IL Orthodontist

Do you currently live with an underbite and want to find a solution?

Know that you’re not alone.

Up to 10% of the population have dental underbites, but can braces fix an underbite?

This condition typically requires orthodontic treatments while some underbites may be mild enough to forego procedures. However, one of the most noticeable issues with underbites is jaw misalignment; over time, a mild case may become more severe and require intervention.

Learn more about underbite correction in this complete guide for patients.

Understand the Signs Of An Underbite

What defines an underbite?

If the bottom front teeth on your lower jaw extend beyond the upper teeth of your upper jaw, you technically have an underbite, regardless of the severity of the condition. In dental terms, this condition is classified as a malocclusion, otherwise known as misaligned teeth.

When teeth are aligned, the front teeth on the upper jaw will extend slightly over the bottom front teeth on the lower jaw. The back molars on both your upper and lower jaw should be able to meet (without pain) when closing your mouth.

People with underbite malocclusion may experience the following medical symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
  • Pain with chewing food or talking
  • Problems with opening and closing your mouth
  • Biting your tongue or the inside of the mouth
  • Constant jaw pain
  • Issues with halitosis
  • Difficulty brushing teeth

When your mouth is misaligned, bacteria may proliferate in hard-to-reach spaces. Mouthwash is recommended when dealing with such conditions.

Misalignment can also cause frequent headaches and migraines, as well as issues with focus and fatigue. You may find yourself taking more pain relievers for jaw pain.

Severe misalignment may eventually result in a painful temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ. You may also notice clicking and cracking when eating, yawning, or talking.

Dental conditions like this often result in sleeping troubles, most notably, sleep apnea. This condition restricts breathing, resulting in daytime fatigue, concentration issues, anger, and sinus problems.

Why Do I Have an Underbite?

Your underbite may be the result of genetics. If a parent or a close family member has an underbite, or if they run predominately in the family, you’re more likely to develop one.

A prolonged behavior may also cause an underbite to develop. For example, if you sucked your thumb a lot as a child or sucked on certain objects or toys, you may have developed an underbite as a result.

Another likely cause is a facial injury. Luckily, you can correct any misalignment from injuries with dental procedures.

What to Do About Your Underbite

Your first step is to contact a dentist about your dental troubles. A dentist can accurately diagnose the severity of the underbite and the next steps. Dentists diagnose underbites with in-person exams and dental x-rays.

Make sure your dentist specializes in orthodontic care or has a referral for an experienced orthodontist or oral surgeon. This is considered the best treatment for underbite correction. However, this doesn’t mean you necessarily need braces.

Can Braces Fix an Underbite?

Yes, getting braces in Glenview, IL can fix your underbite. This is often the first course of action patients take.

However, additional orthodontic solutions may be required. Remember, treatment also depends on the severity of the condition.

Braces fix misaligned teeth. A dental x-ray will show exactly where your teeth are misaligned.

If you’re getting traditional braces, a dentist will fix metal braces to your teeth to level and align them. The next phase is bite adjustments to correct underbite issues. During routine visits, your dentist will tighten your braces as needed to achieve the best result.

Dental braces require the following components:

  • Brackets
  • Hooks
  • Wires (archwires)
  • Metal bands
  • Elastic ties
  • Rubber bands

The third phase of treatment requires fine-tuning adjustments to ensure all alignment and underbite issues are corrected before the braces are removed.

Once removed, your dentist will create a mouth retainer which you’ll have to wear day and night to prevent any misalignment after braces are removed. It’s recommended that you wear your retainer for up to one year after braces are removed.

Will I Need Oral Surgery?

Oral braces or alternatives are typically recommended for underbites. However, in some cases, patients may have to undergo oral surgery to remove compacted wisdom teeth before getting braces. Orthodontists and oral surgeons are different.

Depending on the circumstances, you may need a mouth extender before braces.

There is also a condition called Hyperdontia where too many teeth are present in the mouth; you may notice a tooth growing on top of another tooth. In these cases, an oral surgeon will have to remove any excess teeth before an orthodontist can apply braces.

Alternatives to Dental Braces

The only viable alternative to traditional braces is Invisalign. Patients with mild (or even moderate) underbite misalignment may be able to correct their bite issues with Invisalign. Many patients prefer Invisalign because they don’t have the appearance of metal braces and may be removed while eating.

Depending on your jaw structure, oral surgery or mouth extension may be required before a dentist can create Invisalign aligners.

Invisalign aligners are clear and removable. Your dentist will render a 3D scan of your smile to design the right aligners for your underbite issues.

Similar to wearing braces for underbite issues, you will make routine visits to the dentist to assess progress. However, instead of a dentist tightening your braces brackets, they will create a new set of aligners that “align” with the bite correction progress.

As soon as you’re finished with your Invisalign treatment, your dentist will create a Vivera retainer to maintain your underbite correction and new teeth alignment.

Find a Great Orthodontist In Glenview, IL

Can braces fix an underbite?

The answer is yes!

Help is out there for fixing underbites, and we want to help you smile again without pain.

At Graber & Gyllenhaal Orthodontics, we specialize in orthodontic treatments for both kids and adults. Our board-certified orthodontists are skilled at applying clear and miniature silver braces, Invisalign products, SureSmile robotic archwire technology, and mouth expanders.

Book an appointment today or receive a free online consultation to learn more.