What are the Causes of Underbite?
An underbite, also known as a mandibular prognathism, is a condition where the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw. This can lead to dental problems, difficulty chewing, and even speech difficulties. While the causes of an underbite can vary, they often involve genetics, environmental factors, and certain habits or behaviors.
The treatment options for an underbite depend on the severity of the condition and the individual patient’s needs and goals. In general, treatment may include orthodontic treatment, underbite surgery, or a combination of both.
Following underbite surgery, the patient will need to wear braces for several months to a year to help fine-tune the bite and ensure proper alignment. Full recovery from jaw surgery may take several months, during which time the patient will need to follow a strict diet and oral hygiene regimen to ensure proper healing.
Common Causes of Underbite
Here are some of the most common causes of an underbite:
Many cases of underbite are caused by genetics. This means that a child may inherit the tendency to have a lower jaw that protrudes beyond the upper jaw from one or both parents. In some cases, an underbite may also be the result of a genetic disorder or syndrome, such as Pierre Robin syndrome or Treacher Collins syndrome.
Certain habits or behaviors during childhood can contribute to the development of an underbite. For example, prolonged thumb-sucking, pacifier use, or bottle feeding can cause the lower jaw to move forward and create an underbite. Additionally, a child who breathes through their mouth instead of their nose may also be at risk for developing an underbite.
Malocclusion is a dental condition where the teeth do not fit together properly. In some cases, malocclusion can cause an underbite to develop. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including missing teeth, overcrowding, or misalignment of the teeth or jaws.
Abnormal Jaw Growth
An underbite can also be caused by abnormal jaw growth. This may occur due to an injury, infection, or other trauma that affects the development of the jaw. In some cases, the lower jaw may grow too much, while the upper jaw does not grow enough to keep pace. This can result in an underbite.
Tumors or Other Medical Conditions
In rare cases, an underbite may be caused by tumors or other medical conditions that affect the jaw. For example, acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that can cause abnormal jaw growth and lead to an underbite.
Trauma or Injury
Trauma or injury to the jaw can also cause an underbite to develop. For example, a blow to the face or a car accident can cause the lower jaw to shift forward and create an underbite. This type of underbite is often accompanied by other dental or facial injuries.
Finally, an underbite may be caused by skeletal abnormalities. This can include conditions such as cleft palate, which can affect the development of the jaw and lead to an underbite. In some cases, an underbite may also be caused by a misalignment of the bones in the skull or face.
In some cases, an underbite may be purely cosmetic and not require treatment. However, if the underbite is severe or causing dental problems, speech difficulties, or other issues, treatment may be necessary. If you or your child has an underbite, it’s important to speak with a qualified orthodontist or oral surgeon who can evaluate your individual case and recommend the most appropriate treatment options.
By understanding the underlying causes of an underbite, you can work with your healthcare provider to develop a customized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and goals. With proper care and attention, many patients can achieve improved dental function, speech, and overall quality of life after undergoing treatment for an underbite.