What Is an Underbite?

dental clinic TorontoIf you live in Toronto or the GTA and you suspect you or your child might have an underbite, then you should visit your local dental clinic for a check-up at your earliest convenience. It’s extremely important to diagnose both underbites and overbites as soon as possible because if you put it off, the condition could rapidly worsen over time. If that happens, more extreme and potentially expensive treatment options will be necessary.

What Is an Underbite?

Underbites are a hereditary structural disorder of the face in which the lower teeth markedly overlap the upper teeth and ultimately push them further back into the mouth while the lower teeth progressively protrude outward. Not only is this an unsightly condition that completely alters a person’s appearance, but to a certain extent, it can also be extremely uncomfortable and can result in a great deal of pain in the jaw, which is why it must be corrected as soon as possible. If left untreated for too long, underbites can lead to a whole host of other medical problems as people get older, including:

  • Difficulty speaking and chewing food
  • Difficulty breathing during sleep, which can lead to snoring and sleep apnea
  • Constant mouth-breathing, which results in halitosis caused by bacterial infections and leads to tooth decay and diminished enamel
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD), which is a very painful misalignment in the jaw that makes it very difficult for the jaw to function normally

What Causes an Underbite?

Underbites can form in toddlers who suck on their thumbs too frequently or for a prolonged period of time during their early developmental stages. The position of the tongue when they’re doing this tends to press against the bottom teeth and ultimately pushes them forward. Other contributing factors include allergies, such as nasal congestion, that cause excessive mouth-breathing in children. To prevent misalignment in the teeth and jaw, it’s important to encourage children to break these habits early on in their development. Parents should also seek dental underbite treatment at the first signs of a problem.

Feasible Solutions to Correct Underbites

Fortunately, underbite treatment options for adults and children have come a long way in recent years; whether the problem is rooted in the teeth or the jaw, the condition is completely fixable. The following are just a few of the treatment options available.

Braces

Braces are, of course, one of the most well-known solutions for fixing teeth alignment issues and these includes underbites. As with anything, it’s always best to remedy the issue as soon as possible before it gets worse over time. The great thing about braces is that they usually don’t have to stay in for a very long time—one to two years is the average length for treatment. Also, modern technological advancements have opened the door for a wide array of options. You can get multicoloured elastics, or if you or your child is too embarrassed for people to know you’re wearing braces, there are more discreet options such as clear braces.

Orthodontic Appliances

Orthodontic appliances are usually an even less popular choice than braces because there’s no way of hiding them. Often times, orthodontic appliances are highly noticeable and extremely uncomfortable. Some are even installed externally, such as various forms of headgear. Other options include dental expanders and retainers which can be more comfortable.

Dental or Jaw Realignment Surgery

At one point, surgery was the only treatment option to correct underbites. Nowadays, thanks to extreme technological advancements, it’s only used as an absolute last resort if other treatment options have failed. There are a couple of reasons why dental surgery is one of the most undesirable treatment options. First, it’s extremely invasive. Second, the recovery time and the discomfort that follows is a huge inconvenience for most patients.

Invisalign

Invisalign is basically a more modern and, in some cases, preferable alternative to braces. The treatment process can be lengthy but is overall simple and very thorough.

Your dentist will schedule an initial consultation with you to examine your teeth and jaw alignment (Invisalign treatment only works for underbites caused by problems in the teeth not the jaw). Then, they’ll create a digital projection of how they expect your teeth to improve over time with the treatment. Based on that, they’ll create a mold and construct your first set of Invisalign trays. You’ll need to go in every four weeks for a check-up so your dentist can apply a new set of trays as the formation of your teeth improves.

Dental Underbite Treatment in Toronto

At Princeview Dental Group, we’re qualified to treat all kinds of dental conditions, including minor to severe underbites and overbites. If there’s an issue that can’t be treated by dental treatment, we’ll even refer you to specialists who can help alleviate your situation. For over 20 years, we’ve assisted patients with a wide variety of dental procedures including routine teeth cleanings and even dental emergencies. Our patients range from young children to elderly adults. To book a consultation, please call us at (416) 231-4562.

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