Thanks to early orthodontic treatment, correcting underbites in children is now more accessible than ever at Straight Smiles Orthodontics! Our team understands seeking care can be confusing, but our team is here to make your family’s experience easy and stress-free. Read on to learn what an underbite is, how to spot one in your child’s teeth, available care options, and more!
The Basics of Underbites
When your teeth are correctly aligned, your upper teeth comfortably lay just after your bottom teeth. Those with an underbite have teeth that look the opposite. Their lower jaw protrudes too far past their upper teeth, resulting in everyday complications. While it is not a common bite issue, Straight Smiles Orthodontics remains fully equipped to help your child return to perfect alignment.
The most common cause of underbites is simply due to genetics. Children who inherit them typically have a parent or a close relative who also had one when they were younger. In some cases, they can be the result of early childhood habits such as prolonged pacifier use or thumb sucking. In this case, bringing your child to an orthodontist early can help end these habits before underbites become more severe.
When To Begin Care
Straight Smiles Orthodontics and the American Association of Orthodontics recommend your child’s first appointment be around age seven. As mentioned, the earlier you can bring them in for a free consultation, the more straightforward care can be in dealing with bite issues. Drs. Nicholas and Tom Rafaill use this time to monitor their teeth and bring potential complications to your attention.
The Importance of Bite Correction
Having a proper bite is essential to your child’s dental health and the aesthetics of their smile. Leaving an underbite untreated can cause any initial signs of the condition to become more severe and necessitate more complicated treatment later.
In addition to solving jaw pain, chewing complications, and speech issues, we will help your child feel more confident in their smile and not be afraid of showing it off to their friends and family! However, many different early orthodontic treatments now available for younger patients make correcting a bite simpler than ever.
Side Effects of an Underbite
Underbites can show themselves in more ways besides appearance. While you may recognize some of these side effects visually, keep the following list in mind during conversations with your child:
- Jaw Pain or TMJ Issues: excessive pressure in certain areas of your child’s mouth can cause pain in the jaw joints and even lead to headaches or migraines.
- Speech Complications: when dealing with a bite issue, the natural position of your child’s tongue may make certain words or letters hard for them to pronounce.
- Teeth Wear and Tear: everyday actions can lead teeth to deteriorate faster than usual due to misplaced pressure in specific areas.
- Unable to Completely Close Mouth: the lower jaw sticking out further than it should cause your child’s lips to be unable to close all the way
- Difficulty Chewing: a misaligned jaw can prevent teeth from properly breaking down food into the bite-sized pieces required for smooth digestion
This is a non-exhaustive list, but if you suspect your child may be dealing with an underbite, Drs. Nicholas and Tom Rafaill are always happy to advise you on any orthodontic issues your child has.
What Early Orthodontic Care is Available?
Unlike traditional braces used for teenagers, partial braces work on a small section of overcrowded baby teeth to move them back into place. Once aligned in the correct position, permanent teeth can grow in correctly instead of being crowded again. The braces will apply pressure to move the teeth slowly over a long period of time.
Often combined with other appliances, palatal expanders are an excellent dental asset for widening the upper jaw. While children’s jaws can still be molded into an ideal position without invasive procedures, this device uses two metal places attached to the upper back teeth with the help of a small key to move them apart slowly over time.
Reverse-Pull Face Masks
This appliance attaches to your child’s upper back teeth and gently pulls on the upper jaw to shift it into position. The reverse-pull face mask is similar to headgear in that it wraps around the forehead to place the right amount of pressure. It is typically prescribed to be worn for 16 hours a day, so there is no need for your child to worry about needing to have it on during the school day or when out with friends.
Fix Your Child’s Underbite Today!
Now that you understand more about underbites and how to spot early signs, we hope you are more confident in helping your child along with their orthodontic care. If you have any more questions about bite issues or what your next steps should be, please feel free to contact our team, and we will be happy to help. Straight Smiles Orthodontics provides Shelby Township, Novi, Rochester, and the surrounding communities free consultations so you and your family can learn more about their orthodontic needs. We can’t wait to meet you!