When does an underbite need surgery?

Did you know there’s more than one treatment alternative for deep underbites? Most people believe that these bite problems can only be solved with orthodontics. However, the truth is when there’s a skeletal compromise in underbites, the results with orthodontic treatment tend to fall short. Jawbone surgery is the ultimate treatment for severe underbites – read on to find out why!


Why do some people develop underbites?


Many different factors can lead to an underbite. Sometimes, it is caused by an alteration in jawbones during their development. Children with tongue thrusts, habits like thumb-sucking, or prolonged pacifier use are more likely to develop this jaw issue. In these cases, the jawbones had the “right information” when growing, but some external factors interfered with their development, causing this bite problem. The good news is that if these external factors are spotted on time, they can be eliminated or at least neutralized through dental procedures or conduct therapy. That’s why it’s crucial to have your children’s smiles examined by a dentist, orthodontist, or pediatrician at 7.


However, in most cases, underbites have a strong genetic component. This bite issue tends to run in families. In these cases, the information the jawbones receive while developing already has this tendency to cause an overbite. Still, although there are no habits to correct or tongue thrusts to be surgically treated if this abnormal growth tendency is detected on time, orthodontists can do something about it. Orthopedic appliances can guide the development of the jawbones and help them reach the correct position if worn at a certain age.



Treatment alternatives


If children don’t receive proper treatment while growing, the underbite will become more and more noticeable until they reach the growing peak (between 16 and 18 years old). From that moment onwards, no interceptive treatment can help. Adult patients have two treatment options, and to make a decision, they must consider multiple factors.


  • Orthodontic Treatment: orthodontic treatment can only correct the position of the teeth. It doesn’t affect the jawbones themselves, so patients who choose braces need to know the change in their facial appearance will be limited. Sometimes overbites are more related to teeth, so the final results with braces are satisfactory, but when the jawbones are involved, there’s no choice but to undergo surgery to improve function and facial aesthetics.


  • Jawbone Surgery: Jawbone surgery is technically known as orthognathic surgery. This surgical procedure involves both a traditional orthodontic treatment and a major surgery, so the treatment plan must be outlined by both an orthodontist and an orthognathic surgeon. Jawbone surgery is highly convenient for patients with a severe underbite, as this skeletal alteration can cause functional problems besides the apparent aesthetic compromise. Patients with deep underbites tend to have difficulties chewing, speaking, and even breathing (the upper airway’s permeability is intimately related to the position of the jawbone).



Jaw Surgery in Austin, TX

There are various causes and treatments for underbites, so it’s essential you learn about your case and possibilities before taking any course of action. Consult with one of Hill Country Oral Surgery’s oral surgeons to find which option is right for you!