An underbite, also called a Class III malocclusion or prognathism, is a condition in which the lower teeth and jaw protrude in front of the upper teeth. Normally, the upper teeth cover the bottom teeth slightly, but in the case of prognathism, the situation is reversed, leading the sufferer to have a somewhat unnatural appearance. Typical symptoms include:
• improper alignment of the teeth
• alteration in the appearance of the face
• frequent biting of the inner cheeks or tongue
• discomfort when chewing or biting
• speech problems, including the development of a lisp
• breathing through the mouth rather than the nose
HOW IS UNDERBITE DIAGNOSED?
For diagnosis, an Orthodontist will first collect all the details about the affected person, conduct a clinical examination and use the reports of the X-rays and photos of the face and teeth. Once all these are made available the doctor can make a decision on the course of the treatment.
HOW IS UNDERBITE TREATED?
There are two common treatments for underbite:
• An upper jaw expander, which is a wire device fixed to the roof of the mouth. A key is used nightly to widen the expander until treatment is completed. This process typically takes about one year when the expander is replaced with a retainer.
• A reverse pull face mask, works by wrapping around the head and attaching to metal bands on the upper back teeth to pull the upper jaw into the correct position.
DID YOU KNOW?
The softer the muscles of the jaws, the faster can this problem be healed. Hence it is best to get braces for your child.