Over your underbite? You’re not the only one. For many Americans, even a slight underbite can seem extremely noticeable. While many patients with this type of malocclusion can address their concerns through braces or other treatments, some individuals with more severe cases may find that corrective jaw surgery is a better long-term solution. Here’s what you need to know before investing in corrective surgery for your underbite.
What Causes an Underbite?
Underbites are a form of malocclusion often rooted in jaw misalignment. This misalignment causes the lower teeth to extend farther than the upper teeth. However, the causes behind jaw misalignment can vary between:
- Early childhood behaviors such as thumb sucking or extended pacifier use
- Injuries such as broken jawbones
Depending on the severity and cause of the underbite, corrective jaw surgery may be the best course of action for an individual.
Evaluating the Impact of an Underbite
In addition to evaluating the cause behind an underbite, most oral surgeons pay close attention to the impact an underbite may have on an individual’s overall oral health. For most mild cases, the mismatch is relatively unnoticeable or causes mostly cosmetic concerns. In these instances, an expert may recommend less invasive options such as orthodontia to help improve a patient’s appearance.
In contrast, severe underbites can more seriously impact a person’s ability to bite, chew, and even speak. These individuals may also experience abnormal dental wear or find it more challenging to maintain proper oral hygiene due to their underbite. This increases the risk of periodontal disease or cavities. In these instances, correcting the underbite via corrective jaw surgery is the best solution.
What is Corrective Jaw Surgery?
Corrective jaw surgery, also called orthognathic surgery, is typically reserved for the most severe malocclusions. Corrective jaw surgery is highly tailored to each patient based on the cause and severity of their underbite. For some, surgery can require moving the upper jaw forward to meet the protruding lower jaw. For others, the lower jaw needs to be rotated and repositioned in order to sit flush against the upper jaw.
As multiple surgeries are sometimes required in order to achieve the desired result, the overall process of getting corrective jaw surgery can take longer than most other procedures. Furthermore, your jaw surgery specialist may recommend combining orthognathic surgery with braces to correct the teeth’s position. However, this holistic approach to care can yield life-changing results for the patient. With corrective jaw surgery, individuals can gain a newfound sense of confidence in their appearance as well as improved quality of life.
Schedule Your Oral Surgery Consultation Today
At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we believe that your smile can be your best asset. If your underbite is causing you grief or impacting your oral health, give us a call. Our expert oral surgeons would be happy to sit down with you and discuss your treatment options. Together, we’ll find the best solution for your malocclusion. Call 512-327-7233 or schedule your consultation online with our maxillofacial specialists in Austin, Tx today!