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Underbite vs. Underjet: What Is the Difference?

Dr. Degel Jun 8, 2018

Examine the teeth with a dental mirrorNot everyone is born with a perfectly aligned smile, but orthodontic care makes having such a smile a possibility. Countless patients have visited our Queens, NY cosmetic dentistry center in order to undergo various procedures that straighten teeth and improve dental health in the process.

Some patients suffer from underbites, while others have underbites with an underjet. These are two separate issues, but both can lead to serious problems. The dentists of Astoria Dental Group would like to go over the differences between underbites and underjets, and explain how they can be treated.

What Is an Underbite?

An underbite refers to an instance in which the upper teeth are situated behind the lower row of teeth. This may be the result of poor jaw position relative to the rest of the cranium, misalignment of the upper and lower teeth, and other structural issues.

Problems Caused by Underbites

If you suffer from an underbite, you may have cosmetic issues with the appearance of your smile. Ideal dental alignment is a slight overbite. Since jaw and facial structure play a role in underbites, your overall facial appearance may also be impacted by an underbite.

People with underbites are likely to experience some degree of pain when biting or chewing as a result of their poor dental alignment. Additionally, poor dental alignment can contribute to teeth grinding (bruxism) and other serious health issues over time.

Treatment for an Underbite

Treating an underbite will involve orthodontic care. Usually headgear is used to help pull the upper dental arch forward while making sure the lower jaw remains in a fixed position. This helps improve the position of the upper and lower teeth relative to one another. Braces will typically be used after headgear to improve overall dental alignment.

In some cases, oral surgery may be required to alter the structure and position of the lower jaw. Following oral surgery, braces will be used to make sure the upper and lower teeth are straight.

What Is an Underjet?

An underjet describes an aspect of an underbite. This means that when a person has an underbite, their lower teeth cover up a portion of their upper teeth. This is often due to poor tooth alignment as well as issues with the position of the jaw.

Problems Caused by Underjets

An underjet poses similar problems to an underbite, affecting both the appearance of the smile and aspects of dental wellness. Ideal and healthy dental alignment is a slight overbite with a slight overjet, the latter meaning that the upper teeth slightly conceal the tips of the lower teeth.

Treatment for an Underjet

When treating an underjet, similar techniques to treating an underbite will be used. Headgear can help bring the upper dental arch forward, and the use of braces can assist with straitening the position of the teeth on the lower and upper arches. For serious underjets, oral surgery will likely play a role to help ensure proper position of the jaw and achieve optimal alignment.

Contact Astoria Dental Group

For more information about treating tooth misalignment, be sure to contact the dentists of Astoria Dental Group. We will provide you with insight into your treatment options and discuss which procedures may be right for you.

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Astoria, NY 11106

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