Underbites, where the lower teeth stick out beyond the upper teeth, can pose various challenges, affecting both dental function and aesthetics. Invisalign treatment has emerged as a popular option for correcting underbites, offering patients a discreet and effective solution. Unlike traditional braces, which use metal brackets and wires to realign teeth, Invisalign clear aligners gradually shift misaligned teeth into their ideal positions. This makes underbite correction more comfortable and barely noticeable, especially for adults or individuals concerned about the appearance of traditional braces.
An underbite is a dental condition characterised by the misalignment of the upper and lower front teeth. It is classified as a Class III malocclusion. Due to the way an underbite presents itself (lower teeth stick out in front of the upper front teeth), it can greatly impact the self-esteem of patients depending on the severity. Some cases are mild and barely noticeable, while others are so severe the lower and upper teeth protrude out by quite a fair degree.
An underbite is also more than just a cosmetic issue; if you have an underbite, you may find that you experience oral health problems such as:
- Difficulty chewing and biting
- Mouth and/or face pain due to jaw misalignment
- Speech problems due to jaw misalignment
What causes an underbite?
Several factors can cause an underbite, including:
- Poor childhood habits
Childhood habits like excessive thumb sucking, using a pacifier after age three, long-term bottle feeding and pushing on the upper front teeth with the tongue (tongue thrusting) can increase the risk of developing an underbite.
Underbites affect between 5-10% of the population, and in most cases, they are inherited. If at least one person in your family has it, then you are more likely to get an underbite too. This is because genetics play a huge role in a person’s jaw, facial structure, tooth shape and size.
- Injury or trauma
Injury or trauma to the face can cause permanent damage to the jawbones and misalignment of the jaw. While it’s possible to repair broken jawbones through surgery, they may not necessarily fit together properly, causing an underbite.
A tumour in the jaw or mouth can cause the jaw to protrude, resulting in an underbite.
Why should I fix my underbite?
The problems associated with an underbite can affect both mental and physical health. Here are some common issues faced:
Underbites are a lot less common than overbites, so patients with overbites tend to be noticed more. Apart from minor discomfort from having misaligned upper and lower teeth, patients with overbites also have protruding chins, which may greatly affect self-esteem, especially in children.
- Speech issues
To chew properly make certain sounds like “s” and “f”, your bottom and upper teeth must be aligned properly. If they don’t align as with an underbite, enunciating words with those letters can be difficult.
- Tooth decay
It can be harder to clean your teeth with an underbite. This bite condition can also cause problems with oral hygiene and health such as rapid tooth wear, resulting in enamel damage. Due to poor oral hygiene and excessive tooth wear, teeth can decay faster.
- Difficulty chewing
When teeth are misaligned, a simple activity like chewing can become difficult. Patients with severe underbites are at a higher risk of choking as they cannot chew their food properly before swallowing.
- Jaw pain
Your jaw is constantly working to align your teeth. But when teeth do not align back, it can lead to headaches and jaw pain. Patients with severe underbites are at risk of a painful joint condition known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), where the jaw feels ‘locked’ and can result in considerable pain in the jaw, popping sensations, toothaches and earaches.
Can Invisalign fix underbite?
Yes, Invisalign aligners can fix certain types of underbites. Contrary to popular belief, surgery and jaw expanders are not the only ways to fix underbites. However, severe underbites might require surgery to correct the position of the jaw protruding before undergoing Invisalign dental treatment. When combined with other dental treatment plans, Invisalign can also work for Class III underbites.
Invisalign clear aligners work by applying gentle pressure on the teeth to encourage movement over time. Through a series of custom-made aligners, Invisalign treatment addresses the underlying causes of underbites, such as tooth shape or poor oral habits like excessive thumb sucking. Invisalign treatment plans are carefully crafted by Invisalign-accredited dentists or orthodontists to suit each patient's unique dental condition and treatment goals.
At Dental Designs, our dentists will first conduct an in-depth examination of your mouth and new smile. This includes using a 3D scanner to take images and videos of your teeth from all angles. If you are a successful candidate for Invisalign, we will create a 3D mould of your teeth and get your clear aligners designed.
How long will the Invisalign treatment take to fix my underbite?
Treatment duration highly depends on the severity of your condition, level of misalignment, and level of discipline. Regardless of your teeth condition, all Invisalign patients are required to wear their aligners for at least 22 hours daily. It is this adherence that will determine whether the Invisalign process will be successful or not.
Generally, for minor cases, the correction would take about 3-4 months, while moderately severe cases could take 12 months or slightly longer. Regardless, the time taken is still shorter than the time it takes to fix underbites with traditional braces or metal braces.
Patients undergoing Invisalign treatment for underbites can expect a gradual improvement in their bite alignment and oral health. By wearing the aligners as instructed and maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, patients can help prevent tooth decay and gum problems associated with underbites. Additionally, Invisalign aligners allow patients to chew properly and alleviate painful joint conditions often associated with severe underbites.
Although Invisalign can effectively fix many cases of underbites, severe cases may still require surgical intervention or additional orthodontic treatments. However, for mild to moderate underbites, Invisalign offers a non-invasive and convenient orthodontic treatment option with minimal discomfort. With proper treatment compliance and follow-up care, patients can achieve a confident smile and improved dental function, free from the challenges posed by underbites and other orthodontic issues.
Invisalign can help correct your underbite and improve your quality of life. If you have any questions, feel free to direct them to our team and we will try our best to help.
- Cakan, D. G., Ulkur, F., & Taner, T. U. (2012). The genetic basis of facial skeletal characteristics and its relation with orthodontics. European journal of dentistry, 6(3), 340–345. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3420844/
- Amodeo, G., Meuli, S., Carboni, A., Brugnami, F., Marrocco, S., Orsini, R., & Scopelliti, D. (2020). Surgery First and Invisalign System: Combined Digital Approach. The Journal of craniofacial surgery, 31(6), 1681–1686. https://doi.org/10.1097/SCS.0000000000006392