What Is An Underbite: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options


What is an Underbite?

Underbite refers to the dental condition in which your lower teeth extend farther than your upper teeth. This disturbs the alignment of your jaw by causing your lower jaw to develop outwards further than your upper jaw.

An underbite is also known as Class III malocclusion or prognathism, and its effects on your body range from minor to severe.

How Can Underbite Affect Your Health?

Underbite can affect your health in several ways. Some of the most common symptoms include disturbance in your sleep schedule and effects on your mental health and overall appearance. Have a look at the problems that are caused when you have an underbite:

  1. Bad Breath (Halitosis)

    Underbite can lead to the development of bacteria in your mouth, and this causes bad breath.

  2. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

    Temporomandibular Joint refers to the hinge which connects your skull to the jaw. When you have TMD caused by an underbite, you might feel like your temporomandibular joint is locked in one position. Moving it will cause a sound and lead to excruciating pain.

  3. Mouth Breathing

    As the name suggests, mouth breathing refers to the term when a person is using his mouth for breathing. This also leads to snoring at night, and having an underbite can be a significant cause of your mouth breathing issues.

  4. Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea refers to the condition where a person stops breathing at different points in the night while sleeping, leading to Sleep Apnea. Having sleep apnea can cause trouble with your sleep, resulting in you being tired and dull all day.

What are the causes of Underbite?

Multiple factors are responsible for causing an underbite, and they are listed below:

  1. Childhood Habits

    While it may sound confusing, some childhood habits can lead to the development of an underbite. These habits include Thumbsucking, tongue-thirsting, using a bottle for too long, etc.

  2. Genetics

    Your genetics are responsible for deciding the shape of your teeth and jaw; hence there are chances that you get an underbite due to a hereditary problem.

  3. Tumour

    When a person has a tumour in his jawbones or mouth, the chances of getting an underbite become significantly higher.

  4. Injury

    Having face injuries can cause damage to your jawbones. While surgery can help you to fix problems with your face injuries, jaws don’t always fix properly, and restoring them to their original form becomes a tough job. Hence if you have one or multiple face injuries affecting your jaw, your chance of getting an underbite becomes higher.

Do I need underbite correction?

Having an underbite isn’t normal, and it is recommended that you treat it as early as possible when you want to avoid serious dental problems in the future. Some of the issues that underbite may cause you are listed below:

  • Having issues with chewing or biting
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Bad Breath
  • Snoring and Sleep Apnea
  • Tooth Decay
  • Low self-esteem

How to fix an underbite?

Everyone isn’t born with perfectly aligned teeth, and usually, when a person has slightly misaligned teeth, he doesn’t require any medical treatment. Underbite braces or clear aligners can correct such milder cases. Sometimes, surgery and clear aligners may be recommended together to repair an underbite. Here are some common treatments for an underbite include:

  1. Underbite Braces

    Getting braces for your teeth is one of the most popular and commonly used methods for treating an underbite. Braces help your teeth to align in a better position which is natural and doesn’t cause much harm to your mouth. After getting braces, you’ll have to take proper care of your teeth and overall dental hygiene if you want to get perfectly aligned teeth. It can take a couple of years for braces to do their job, and hence regularly visiting the dentist for checkups is recommended during this period.

    Related article Invisalign Vs Braces – Which Is Better?

  2. Invisalign for underbite correction

    Invisalign clear aligners take inspiration from braces but do the job better. Recently, Invisalign Aligners gained a lot of popularity. The majority of the dentists recommended choosing them over braces because they are invisible and solve your alignment problems better than the traditional braces. This becomes an excellent option for the people looking to treat their underbite without getting noticed or spoiling their appearance.

  3. At-home treatment

    For people trying to fix underbite naturally, at-home treatments like Brushing and Flossing your teeth regularly may help you to prevent further damage. It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice every day for a minimum of two minutes with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. In addition to this, use dental floss and visit for dental checkups twice in a year.

  4. Upper Jaw Expander

    As the name suggests, an upper jaw expander is a device that helps to extend your upper jaw into its correct shape. When an underbite is caused by an upper jaw that is not completely developed, using a jaw expander comes in handy since it fits on the back teeth and helps to push the teeth gradually. It also expands the roof of your mouth, popularly known as the palate, and dentists recommend using retainers for a while to help the new bone grow and correct the overbite permanently.

  5. Tooth Extraction

    The removal of a tooth from an individual’s mouth is known as tooth extraction. Dentists usually recommend going for tooth extraction when crowded teeth in the lower jaw show symptoms of causing an underbite. Braces get more effective when a person gets his teeth removed since other teeth get more space to adjust perfectly.

  6. Underbite Surgery

    Surgical  Orthodontics is an option for people going through a severe case of an underbite. It can help you to fix your sleep apnea, ease pain and realign your jaw. Underbite surgery comes with several risks like general anesthesia, infection, and bleeding problems. It is only performed on people who’ve stopped growing.


Having an underbite can bring in many issues, so it is recommended that you visit a dentist as soon as possible. We recommend these alignment issues get solved during childhood. Book an appointment with Brite Orthodontics today for hassle-free orthodontic treatment.

Dr. Satish Pai, M.D.S

Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and Ivy League trained dentist who has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Brite Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about everything orthodontics and the importance of correctly aligned teeth along with good oral health. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing, and spending time with his family.

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