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What is an underbite?

Underbites occur when the lower teeth are ahead of the upper teeth. What causes an underbite?

Underbites can have a genetic component, where a child may inherit certain jaw and tooth traits that contribute to the condition, however, may also result because of crowded, crooked upper teeth, which forces the person to push the lower jaw forward to bite more comfortably. The genetic susceptibility is generally due to a Class III Jaw pattern which is characterised by a Jaw Growth Discrepancy. Underbites can occur when the lower jaw grows at a faster rate than the upper jaw, resulting in a protrusion of the lower teeth.  Will my child outgrow underbites? 

It is unlikely that an underbite may disappear. Continued jaw growth may actually worsen the underbite during the pubertal growth spurt.  It is recommended to seek early orthodontic assessment by age 8 with an AHPRA registered Orthodontist.How do we manage underbites in Growing Children?

Management of an underbite depends on the cause.

Early Intervention: Early orthodontic intervention is often recommended to guide jaw growth and tooth development. This may involve the use of appliances like palatal expanders or functional appliances (also called Protraction Facemask) to correct the underbite and create a more favourable jaw relationship.

Protraction facemask

Monitoring dental development: In some cases, regular orthodontic reviews and monitoring of  lower jaw growth are important to assess if further treatment is necessary.

Braces: Braces can be used to straighten the teeth and correct the underbite. This treatment option may be used when the child has a combination of dental misalignments or if the underbite persists after growth has completed.  

Orthognathic Surgery: In severe cases of underbite that cannot be corrected with orthodontic treatment alone, orthognathic surgery may be considered. This option is typically reserved for older adolescents or young adults once growth is complete.

It’s important to consult with our Specialist Orthodontist at Broadbeach Orthodontics who specialises in treating children to develop a personalised treatment plan based on the child’s specific needs and stage of growth. Dr Amesha will evaluate the severity of the underbite, consider the child’s facial growth patterns, and recommend the most appropriate course of action for managing the underbite effectively.