What is an underbite?

underbite in purcellville vaFew dental patients have a perfectly balanced bite, but for most, treatment is unnecessary. However, an uneven bite can cause obvious health problems like teeth-clenching, jaw misalignment, and speech issues.

One of the most common bite problems is an underbite when the lower jaw protrudes past the upper teeth. Though not as common as an overbite, about one in every 20 people has the condition. For many individuals with underbites, mild to severe TMJ can result in clicking and pain in the jaw, teeth-grinding at night, and worn-away enamel, a precursor to tooth decay.

Underbites can be corrected if necessary. The method of correction depends on the severity of the patient’s age, misaligned bite, and financial cost, though most underbites can be corrected with braces or non-surgical procedures. Generally, the earlier an overbite is treated, the less invasive the procedure is.

The primary cause of an underbite is a misalignment of the lower jaw, which is usually present at birth. Patients with inherited Crouzon syndrome or basal cell nevus syndrome might show signs of an underbite, or it can develop as a result of conditions such as gigantism or acromegaly, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Some ethnic backgrounds are more likely to suffer from prognathism than others.

The problems associated with an underbite depend on how pronounced it is. If the gap is wide, it can cause:

1) Eating difficulties

2) Chronic jaw or joint (TMJ) pain, as well as head- and earaches

3) Challenges with speaking

4) Chronic mouth breathing, halitosis and bacterial infections

5) Tooth decay from excessive wear of the tooth enamel

6) Sleep apnea, snoring and other nighttime breathing difficulties

There are few ways to correct the underbite. Methods for correcting an underbite, range from jaw surgery to orthodontic appliances depending on the severity.

If you believe you have an underbite or have any other questions about dental issues, please give our Purcellville dental office a call today.  Our experienced dentists in Purcellville are happy to speak with you about any questions or concerns and would love to introduce you to our beautiful dental office.