A slight underbite may be barely noticeable and a severe one can drastically distort your face, but either type requires correction.
At Bucktown Wicker Park Dental in Chicago, our highly trained and experienced providers specialize in difficult malocclusions — the official term for misaligned bites. Whether your teeth are crooked, misshapen, or out of alignment, we offer the most advanced treatments to shift them back into the proper position.
Here, we’re taking a closer look at underbites and how Invisalign® clear aligners and other treatments can transform your teeth and face.
What causes an underbite?
Ideally, your teeth all fit together in perfect alignment. The peaks and valleys of your upper molars should nestle into their lower counterparts, and your upper front teeth should rest slightly over your lower front teeth.
Unfortunately, several things can cause your teeth and jaw to misalign.
- Bad habits, such as thumbsucking, tongue thrusting, long-term bottle-feeding, and pacifier use
- Injury to the jawbone
- Tumors in the jawbone
Whatever caused your underbite, it’s more than a simple cosmetic issue. An underbite affects the way you chew and speak, and can also cause mouth and jaw pain.
How to correct an underbite
Depending on the severity of your underbite, we may be able to correct it with a simple orthodontic treatment. More serious cases might require surgical correction.
Catching it early
We often see warning signs of things to come in children. Your child’s future adult teeth take a cue from the baby teeth, and we can predict when an underbite will develop. Whether your child’s jaw is genetically predisposed to protruding, or thumbsucking and pacifier use have shifted the oral structures, early orthodontic treatment may be able to correct the problem while their teeth are still developing. It’s much easier to move the teeth and influence jaw development before the adult teeth emerge.
Braces are a tried-and-true traditional treatment for an underbite. Using wires, brackets, and rubber bands, this effective approach puts constant pressure on your teeth to move them into the proper position.
If you want to avoid metal in your mouth, you may want to consider our clear braces, which are just as effective, but much less visible.
If you want to go virtually invisible, clear aligners are another great way to correct a mild-to-moderate underbite.
Invisalign, one of the most popular brands of clear aligners, is well-known for its ability to gradually shift your teeth into perfect alignment using SmartTrack® technology. This advanced material allows your Invisalign appliance to exert gentle but constant force, control the movement of your teeth, fit snugly, and produce predictable and reliable results.
You wear your customized removal Invisalign trays at least 22 hours a day and take them out to eat, drink, and brush your teeth. Every two weeks, you swap out your tray for the next one, and by the time you reach the end of your treatment, you have straighter teeth and no underbite.
If your underbite is severe, you may need orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery. During this procedure, we can either lengthen your upper jaw, reduce your lower jaw, or both. In some cases, it’s best to combine surgery with Invisalign or braces for the best results.
Don’t let an underbite ruin your profile or interfere with the way you talk and eat. In most cases, Invisalign can correct your underbite discreetly and comfortably. To find out which treatment is right for your underbite, schedule an appointment by calling our friendly staff or using our online booking tool.