An underbite is a dental condition when the lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw. This misalignment can lead to various dental and orthodontic issues, such as difficulty chewing, speech problems, and jaw pain. While underbites are often diagnosed during childhood, many adults also live with this condition. One question that many people with underbites have is whether their condition will worsen with age. In this article, we will explore this question in more detail.
How Underbites Develop
Before discussing whether underbites worsen with age, it’s important to understand how they develop. Underbites can occur for various reasons, such as genetics, thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, or prolonged bottle-feeding. In some cases, trauma or injury to the jaw can also cause an underbite. However, most underbites are inherited, meaning they are passed down from parents to their children.
1. Underbites in Children
Underbites are most commonly diagnosed in childhood. In many cases, underbites in children can be corrected with orthodontic treatment, such as braces or headgear. The earlier the treatment is started, the better the chances of correcting the underbite without surgery.
2. Underbites in Adults
While underbites are more common in children, many adults also live with this condition. Some people may not even realize they have an underbite until they are adults. Adults with underbites may experience various dental and orthodontic issues, such as difficulty chewing, speech problems, and jaw pain. They may also feel self-conscious about their appearance.
Whether Underbites Worsen with Age
Now, let’s ask: do underbites worsen with age? The answer depends on various factors, such as the underbite’s severity, the person’s age, and whether they have received any orthodontic treatment.
In general, underbites that are left untreated can worsen over time. This is because the teeth and jaws grow and develop throughout childhood and adolescence. If an underbite is not corrected during this time, it can become more severe as the person ages.
However, once a person reaches adulthood, their bones have stopped growing and developing. This means that underbites will not worsen once a person reaches adulthood. However, if an adult with an underbite does not receive any treatment, their condition may still cause dental and orthodontic issues that can worsen over time.
Treatment Options for Underbites
The good news is that various treatment options are available for underbites, regardless of age. The most common treatment for underbites is orthodontic treatment, which may include braces, headgear, or other appliances. In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the underbite.
Orthodontic treatment for underbites typically involves moving the teeth and jaws into the correct position. This can be done through braces, which pressure the teeth to move them into the correct position. Headgear may also pressure the jaw to move it into the correct position. Braces and headgear may sometimes be used to correct the underbite.
Underbite surgery is typically reserved for severe cases that cannot be corrected through orthodontic treatment alone. The surgery involves moving the upper jaw forward and the lower jaw backward to correct the underbite. While surgery may sound intimidating, it is generally a safe and effective option for correcting underbites.
In conclusion, underbites can worsen if left untreated, especially during childhood and adolescence when the bones are still growing and developing. However, once a person reaches adulthood, their underbite will not worsen. Nonetheless, untreated underbites in adults can still cause dental and orthodontic issues that worsen over time. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment for underbites, regardless of age. Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or headgear, can effectively correct underbites, while surgery may be necessary in severe cases. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about the best treatment options if you have an underbite.
Solarte Orthodontics is a family orthodontics office committed to delivering the highest quality dental care with the latest state-of-the-art technology. If you are an adult looking to straighten your smile, there are many orthodontic treatments for that. Our office assists patients of all ages, guaranteeing a better and healthier smile for you! Get in touch with us to book an appointment with one of our orthodontists for adults in Manassas!