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Bite issues are incredibly common and are one of the most common issues we treat here at Darwen Orthodontics. Overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite are all forms of malocclusion that can be treated with orthodontics and depending on the type and severity of your dental issue, with varying forms of braces.

If you have an underbite, you may understandably be worrying about what form of orthodontic treatment you may undergo to correct the issue. Let’s take a look at what an underbite is, why it is caused and how it can be treated.


What is an Underbite?

An underbite occurs when the lower jaw extends further forward than the upper, causing the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth when the jaws are brought together. This type of jaw misalignment can significantly affect a person’s self-esteem and can also lead to health problems if left untreated like chronic headaches, speech difficulties and trouble eating.


Causes and Challenges of an Underbite?

This misalignment can be caused by several things, the most common being genetics, which means that an underbite can occur naturally and has no preventable cause. There are habits, however, that can contribute to an underbite, including:

  • Thumb-Sucking – for some children, this is a natural way to self-soothe but if it continues past the age of 3 it can significantly impact how the teeth and jaw develop, causing teeth to come in at an angle, eventually leading to an underbite.
  • Spacing Issues – gapped or crowded teeth can also lead to an underbite, and missing teeth can lead to spacing problems. Consistent, quality dental care from a young age is recommended to ensure the teeth and jaw develop correctly.
  • Other Common Causes – these can include the overuse of bottles as a baby, injuries to the jaw, and tumours that can lead to misaligned teeth and underbites.


Treatment Options for Underbites

In orthodontics today, professionals are using cutting-edge technology and innovation to make incredible improvements to your confidence and smile. For the more severe cases of underbite, it may be that orthognathic surgery is needed before braces treatment, however, most people with an underbite will find their issue can be treated with fixed and removable braces. 

How braces work to correct an underbite is by applying gentle pressure to slowly move the teeth into better alignment, which then affects the underlying jawbone as it works to sit correctly with the new tooth alignment. After braces, patients are encouraged to wear retainers to keep their teeth and ultimately jaw, in their new alignment. Failure to do this will cause your teeth and jaw to move back to their original position.


The Most Effective Type of Brace for an Underbite When Surgery isn’t an Option

The treatment for an underbite will rely solely on your specific case and the severity of it. If, after speaking with your orthodontist, braces can fix your underbite, there are a number of options to choose from:

Ceramic and Traditional Fixed Metal Braces

Traditional fixed metal braces have long been a reliable and effective solution for various orthodontic issues, including underbites. Comprising metal brackets and wires, these braces work by gradually shifting teeth into their correct positions. While they are visible and may be less aesthetically pleasing to some, traditional braces remain a popular choice due to their affordability and effectiveness in treating underbites.

Another option is ceramic braces. These are a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional metal braces using tooth-coloured or clear brackets, making them less noticeable. While ceramic braces are suitable for treating underbites, they may be more prone to staining and are generally more expensive than their metal counterparts.


Underbites can also be treated with Invisalign, meaning that patients can correct their dental issues discreetly and much more comfortably than with traditional fixed metal or ceramic braces. Invisalign aligners gradually reposition teeth, which, for an underbite, involves moving the lower teeth back and the upper teeth forward. After your treatment with Invisalign is complete, you will be required to wear a retainer, to ensure that your teeth do not move back to their original position. 

If your underbite is more severe, then your orthodontist can use special attachments such as small, tooth-coloured dots of dental bonding material to help provide additional force in specific areas of your Invisalign trays. This aids in correcting tricky parts of your underbite. Elastics can also be used in slightly more severe cases, which are applied to your trays and apply additional pressure to move the jaw backwards and realign your bite.


How Your Specialist Orthodontist in Darwen Can Help

Some cases of underbite will not qualify for Invisalign treatment. If your underbite is due to improper tooth and jaw positioning, then Invisalign can most likely treat it, however, if your underbite is caused by a skeletal problem, such as having an excessively larger lower jaw, then jaw surgery, in conjunction with Invisalign may be necessary.

We recommend coming to speak to one of our specialist orthodontists at Darwen Orthodontics, to discuss your dental issues. We can provide a thorough assessment of your teeth and jaws and provide you with the best course of action. Contact your specialist orthodontist in Darwen today to book your free consultation.

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