How Underbites Affect Your Dental Health

No one is born with a perfect smile— well, no one is actually born with teeth!  A great smile requires diligent oral care and the help of your dentist to correct imperfections, and to treat dental issues.

If you or your child has an underbite, talk to your dentist at Fioritto Dental about treatment options. Treatment for a child with an underbite may be different than treatment for an adult. Untreated underbites can impact overall dental health, so it’s important to address it with your dentist as soon as possible.

What is an underbite?

When lower teeth extend further than top teeth, it is referred to as an underbite.  When caught early, treatment may consist of a simple orthodontic appliance. The human jaw is moldable, and therefore braces or a retainer may be all you need to bring the lower jaw into proper alignment.

If underbites run in your family, you have genetics to blame. Other causes of underbite formation include thumb sucking or pacifier use, injury to the jaw, and tumors.

Underbites may not be detectable to others. Mild cases may go unnoticed. They’re not dangerous, but they can affect your dental and physical health. Chewing can be difficult, and jaw pain can result. Some people may also have difficulty speaking.

How an underbite affects your dental health

When a person has an underbite, jaws and teeth are misaligned and therefore teeth are more prone to chipping and breakage.

In addition to difficulty chewing, speaking and jaw pain, patients may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Chronic bad breath. – An underbite can lead to a bacterial infection in your mouth, resulting in chronic bad breath (also known as halitosis). If you suffer from bad breath despite good dental health, your dentist may determine the culprit to be an underbite.
  • Sleep apnea – Underbites can cause or fuel sleep apnea symptoms. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes one to stop breathing while asleep. Not only does sleep apnea cause poor sleep, but it can be dangerous! Lack of oxygen can cause a myriad of health-related issues including high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.
  • Mouth breathing – Similarly, mouth breathing can be caused by underbites. It’s not necessarily cause for alarm, but it’s also not very comfortable.
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) – Underbites may cause TMD. TMD can make your jaw feel like it is locked into position. It may ‘pop’ when you try to eat or speak, or cause jaw pain. TMD can also cause headaches.

If you suspect you have an underbite, your dentist at Fioritto Dental will be happy to explore treatment options with you. Call or email us today to schedule an appointment!