Treating an Underbite vs. Underjet
Malocclusion problems are irregularities that alter the position of the bite. When the bite is out of alignment, additional problems can develop. Misalignment is a common cause of TMJ disorder. Malocclusion problems are also known to compromise oral functions and increase the risk of oral health complications, such as tooth decay and infection.
Invisalign® straightens the teeth and improves the position of the jaw by applying pressure through a series of clear, plastic aligners. Invisalign® offers many benefits that make it the preferred orthodontic treatment method among cosmetic dentist Bruce Wilderman’s patients. However, it is important to understand what type of malocclusion problems are present to determine what type of treatment is most appropriate.
Here, we discuss an underbite vs. underjet, and how we may be able to correct these conditions for our Philadelphia, PA patients.
An underbite is a fairly common malocclusion problem. To understand an underbite, you must know how the bite should be aligned. Ideally, when a patient closes his or her mouth, the front upper teeth should sit forward of the lower center teeth, just a fraction. The upper center teeth should also close over the lower center teeth, but just marginally.
When a patient has an underbite, the teeth sit in almost the opposite position of the ideal bite. An underbite describes a situation in which the lower center teeth close over the upper center teeth when the patient bites down. When an underbite is minor, the lower teeth will just cover a small portion of the upper teeth, but when an underbite is severe, the lower teeth can cover nearly the entire surface of the upper teeth, and may even reach the upper gum line.
Although “underjet” is not a term that many people are familiar with, this is another malocclusion problem that is pretty common among Dr. Wilderman’s patients. Just like an underbite, when a patient suffers from an underjet, the lower teeth extend over the upper teeth.
However, an underjet refers to how the lower teeth extend horizontally over the upper teeth, rather than vertically. When an underjet is present, the lower teeth stick out further than the upper teeth. An underjet is a sign that the upper jaw is not fully developed, or that the lower jaw is overdeveloped.
Although an underjet and underbite are slightly different conditions, they each affect the position of the jaw and, therefore, may be treated in a similar manner. Orthodontic treatments are the most effective way to improve the position of the jaw and correct the bite.
Because Invisalign® is more comfortable, discreet, and convenient than traditional orthodontic treatments, many of Dr. Wilderman’s patients question whether an underbite or underjet can be corrected with Invisalign® treatment. Fortunately, Invisalign® is an appropriate solution for an underbite or underjet, in most cases.
With the subtle pressure that the Invisalign® aligners provide, we can gradually shift the teeth and jaw until they are properly aligned. However, patients should understand that severe malocclusion problems may require traditional braces, or even surgery, to adequately correct the bite.
Dr. Wilderman is happy to recommend a treatment plan that will best meet the unique needs of each of his patients.
A misaligned bite can compromise oral functions and threaten the health of your teeth and gums. If you would like to learn more about straightening your teeth and correcting your bite, Dr. Bruce Wilderman is here to help. Contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your dental goals.