An underbite occurs when the lower teeth protrude over the top teeth. Common causes of this dental condition include heredity, chewing habits, tongue thrusting and pacifier use. Underbites affect roughly 5 to 10 percent of the population, according to Dental Care Resource website. Adults usually require surgery to correct the condition since the problem becomes skeletal. With children a variety of tools are available to realign the teeth without the need for invasive and expensive surgery. Consult your dentist before choosing the proper remedy.
Consult your dentist about a chin strap. This device is often used for young children. A chin strap, as the name indicates, wraps around the back of the head and secures the chin. This prevents the lower jaw from growing at the same rate as the upper jaw. This allows the upper jaw and the upper teeth to overlap the lower teeth.
Insert an expander into the mouth. An expander widens the upper jaw with a metal bar. The metal bar attaches between the bicuspid and the first molar in the mouth. The patient then uses a key, according to the directions of the dentist, to turn the expander causing a slight expansion.
Add a reverse-pull headgear to the expander if you do not see positive results from the expander alone. The reverse-pull headgear attaches to the expander bar and wraps around the head. Metal bars protrude from the forehead and chin, pushing against the chin and pulling on the upper jaw. 12 hours of continuous wear is required each day.
Consult your dentist about surgery if the chin cap, expander and reverse-pull headgear fail to fix the problem. Some children must use surgery if faced with a severe underbite and have exhausted all other options.