All You Need to Know About Underbite in Children
Some children can suffer from orthodontic issues such as crooked teeth or a bad bite. An underbite is one of those issues. It is a condition where the lower front teeth jut over the upper front teeth.
When the teeth are perfectly aligned, the top front teeth slightly overlap the bottom front teeth. However, in the case of an underbite, the bottom front teeth extend much further than the upper front teeth.
Causes of Underbite in Children
- Thumb Sucking: Excessive thumb sucking can put pressure on the thumb and the sucking places on the teeth. It also puts pressure on the jawbone and roof of the mouth. This can cause an underbite.
- Genes: In most cases, an underbite in children is inherited. Your kid will be more likely to develop an underbite if any family member has it. Genetics also plays a role in determining the jaw structure, which, if extended forward, can cause an underbite.
- Injury to the Jaw: A severe jaw injury can cause permanent damage to the jawbones. These jawbones may not fit together properly after being surgically realigned. This can cause an underbite if they are not aligned properly.
An underbite can lead to a number of complications, which is why your kid would need an underbite correction. The complications include:
- Chronic jaw pain
- Breathing difficulty
- Eating and chewing difficulty
- Altered face shape
- Misaligned teeth
- Underbite speech problems
- Tooth decay and gum disease
What To Do If Your Kid Has an Underbite?
Make an appointment with an orthodontist if your kid has an underbite. If the underbite is less severe, wait at least till the age of 7 to seek any kind of corrective treatment. This is because it is the age when permanent teeth begin to erupt. Ideally, all permanent teeth should have erupted before your kid can seek any orthodontic treatment to fix the underbite.
Facemask appliances are a short-term correction solution that you can consider. They can help in easing the lower front teeth into place. However, they will require a permanent solution as the kid grows up.
This is why consulting an orthodontist is important.
How to Correct an Underbite?
Underbite correction techniques include:
- Jaw Expander: This is a wire device that is fixed to the roof of the mouth, and a key is used every night to widen the expander until the treatment is completed. The expander is replaced with a retainer.
- Chin Cap: This orthodontic device restricts the growth of the lower jaw.
- Reverse Pull Mask: This is a special orthodontic appliance that pulls the upper jaw and teeth forward while preventing the forward growth of the lower jaw.
- Braces: In some cases, the orthodontist may use metal braces to move the teeth into the correct position after the underbite is fixed.
If your kid has an underbite, don’t ignore it. Address it as soon as possible to ensure that it leads to not only good oral health but also better overall health.