What Causes an Underbite and Why You Should Treat it ASAP

The state of your mouth, especially the teeth, has an impact on your overall well-being. Poor dental health does not just feel uncomfortable because, at times, it also causes pain. Previous studies have shown this may increase one’s risk of heart disease and lead to difficulty controlling diabetes.

While an underbite does not look serious, here are some reasons why you should immediately see an orthodontist in Oviedo or any other place in Florida.

Causes of Underbite

An underbite is a dental condition characterized by the lower jaw sitting slightly further outward than the upper jaw, causing the lower teeth to stick out. This creates a bulldog-like appearance.

There are several causes of an underbite, one of which is genetics. If someone in your family has an underbite, the chances are high that you will have an underbite too.

However, childhood habits such as thumb sucking and long-term bottle feeding (beyond infancy) may also increase a person’s risk of having an underbite later on. For adults, severe injuries in the face that may have lead to permanent damage to the jawbones may cause an underbite.

In rare cases, a tumor on the jawbone or in the mouth may be responsible for a person having an underbite.

What Happens to Underbite Left Untreated

woman in pain

For many, an underbite is not noticeable and may not cause problems. However, those who have severe underbite should speak to a dentist about their options.

People who have underbites may experience difficulty biting and chewing food. Depending on how badly the protrusion of the lower jaw, their speech may also be affected. People who have severe underbite may often slur their speech or have a noticeable lisp. Others may experience breathing troubles, particularly when they sleep.

Pain is also a common complaint among people with an underbite. The misaligned lower jaw causes a lot of stress on the rest of the body which results in painful conditions such as headache and earache.

An underbite may also cause crooked teeth and gum disease or infections. The protruding bite causes stress on the teeth, causing them to grow misaligned and therefore, cause more problems. Misaligned or crooked teeth, coupled with tooth decay, creates a perfect environment for infections and gum diseases to grow and thrive.

People who have an underbite may suffer from low self-esteem. The condition significantly affects a person’s appearance since it alters the face shape. The misaligned jaw causes the chin to jut out further, making it appear bigger than it actually is. As a result, people with an underbite may not feel confident about their appearance. When coupled with slurred speech and chronic pain, an underbite may play a negative role in a person’s mental well-being.

Children may be more vulnerable to the effects of orthodontic issues. As they become aware of their physical appearance during adolescence, they may lose confidence because of the condition. It is important for parents to address orthodontic issues of children early on.

How to Treat an Overbite

In less severe cases, a dentist may recommend that a person with underbite be fitted with braces to correct their teeth alignment. They may also remove one or two teeth from the lower jaw to improve its appearance. They may also shave down teeth that are sticking out unnaturally. In more serious cases, surgery may be required. The surgeon may reshape either the upper or lower jaw to correct the bite.

There are many reasons why a person has an underbite. Whatever it is, it would be best to ask a professional what treatment is ideal so you can improve its appearance and function.

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