For many adults, underbite teeth are a cause of insecurity and even physical pain. Here’s what you need to know about underbites and how to treat them.
What is an Underbite?
In a correctly aligned bite, the upper front teeth sit slightly in front of the lower front teeth when the mouth is closed. An underbite is a type of malocclusion where the lower teeth jut out in front of the upper teeth when you bite down.
Underbites can affect people in different ways. For some people, it manifests only as a slight protrusion of the lower jaw. For others, an underbite can come with persistent pain and a whole host of other issues.
What Causes Underbite?
Most people with an underbite are born with it. A skeletal underbite is usually caused by the malformation of the jawbone that develops naturally from birth.
Underbites can also develop in response to external factors. These types of cases are called dental underbites. Dental underbites are commonly caused by crossbites, or a misaligned bite where some of the bottom teeth rest outside the upper teeth.
In adulthood, underbites can be caused by the improper healing of facial injuries or the growth of jawbone tumors. They may also develop as a result of of early childhood behaviors like:
- Tongue thrusting
- Habitual thumb sucking
- Prolonged pacifier use
- Long-term bottle drinking
What Oral Problems are Caused by Underbite?
If left untreated, the effects of your underbite may worsen over time. You may start experiencing additional symptoms, including excruciating pain, oral health problems, and other dental conditions. These include:
- Tooth Decay – An underbite can cause extra stress on your teeth and damage the enamel, which can expose the inner tooth layer. This makes it easier for bacteria to get inside your tooth and cause cavities.
- Halitosis and Gingivitis – Damaged enamel due to an underbite can also leave you vulnerable to oral bacterial infections. This can result in chronic bad breath and the swelling or bleeding of the gums.
- Sleep Issues – People with underbite teeth are more likely to suffer from sleep issues like mouth breathing and increased snoring. In some cases, they may even develop sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition where your breathing repeatedly pauses as you sleep.
- Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) – An untreated underbite can also result in issues with your temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge that connects your skull to your jaw. When you have TMD, it may feel like your jaw is cemented in place, and it can be extremely painful to move. This can lead to symptoms like:
- Lisps and slurred speech
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing food
- Structural changes to the mouth
- Crooked teeth
In some cases, TMD becomes so severe that it must be treated with surgery.
If you observe any sign of an underbite, contact your dentist. Treating your underbite early may save you from having to pursue more invasive treatment options down the line.
How Invisible Braces Fix Underbite
There are several ways to treat an underbite in adulthood, including jaw surgery, traditional metal braces, or invisible braces. But for professionals on-the-go, invisible braces are the perfect option.
ALINA invisible braces, sometimes referred to as clear aligners, are the most innovative method of teeth alignment available on the market. Experts design your best smile using 3D modeling and print a set of plastic trays to guide your teeth into the right positions over time. Trays are swapped out every one or two weeks, each a little bit different from the last.
Just like traditional metal braces, invisible braces use constant pressure to reorient your teeth. But there are a few reasons why people prefer using clear invisible braces to correct their smile.
- Superior Comfort – When you use invisible braces, you don’t have to deal with wires and brackets constantly poking at your cheeks, which can result in cuts along the walls of the mouth. And here’s another perk that former braces-wearers can appreciate: you can enjoy your favorite foods without having to worry about any brackets falling off!
- Ease of Oral Hygiene – Because invisible braces are easily removable, you will be able to take them out to eat and drink, or when you brush and floss your teeth. This allows you to clean your teeth and trays more thoroughly.
- Better Aesthetics – Because trays are nearly invisible when worn, you can keep them on all day without feeling self-conscious of your smile. If a situation arises where you’d feel more comfortable showing off an unobstructed smile, you can have your trays out for a short time. However, you should always put them back in as soon as possible.
By themselves, invisible braces work best on mild cases of underbite caused by tooth crowding. They can also be used to facilitate the alignment of teeth after jaw surgery.
The price of invisible braces vary based on several factors including the severity of your underbite and the length of your treatment. Considering the inconvenience, stress, and pain they can save you during treatment, the investment is well worth it.
How Long Does it Take to Fix Underbite with Invisible Braces?
The time it takes to straighten teeth using invisible braces varies from person to person, but treatment typically lasts between 10 to 24 months. Because the trays apply pressure on all sides of the teeth, they can orient them to the proper position even faster than traditional braces can.
In many cases involving adults who have previously had braces, suitable alignment can be achieved in as little as 10 weeks if they are able to keep their trays for most hours of the day. In the case of ALINA invisible braces, it is best to wear them for at least 22 hours per day to keep treatment going at the right pace.
Discover your most beautiful smile with ALINA
Dental treatment is a big investment, and whether you’ve just spotted your underbite or have been waiting for years to fix it, you want to make sure that you’re getting the best provider available. With ALINA, you can smile confidently through your treatment and enjoy:
Better materials – ALINA crafts every tray of invisible braces with space-age materials approved by the US FDA, so you know that they’re safe and reliable.
Better technology – Our AlinaSmile technology uses Ai to determine your most beautiful smile based on the position, not just of your teeth, but of all your facial features.
Better results – With more than 25 years of expertise in revealing beautiful smiles, ALINA has uncovered thousands of smiles throughout the US, Canada, and the UK.
Discover how ALINA heps you uncover your smile by visiting our how ALINA works pages.
Treating your underbite can do wonders for your health, appearance, and confidence. To get started on the journey to your most beautiful smile, Book a Consult today.