Can Early Orthodontic Treatment Correct Underbites in Children?

Bite issues are very common in children as their teeth grow. Fortunately, our team at Dillehay Orthodontics is well-versed in the latest research on addressing underbites with non-invasive procedures. Early orthodontic treatment can work wonders for children whose teeth need an extra hand shifting into place. Read on to learn about what an underbite is, why we recommend treatment, and the care options we provide our young patients!

The Basics of An Underbite

If your child’s lower front teeth protrude past their upper front teeth, they are likely suffering from an underbite. This type of malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth) can cause issues such as jaw pain and speech problems. 

The most common cause of an underbite is genetics. If you or a family member had bite issues growing up, your child is more likely to have them as well. Early childhood habits such as thumb sucking and prolonged pacifier use can also contribute to an underbite. But don’t worry; treatment options are more numerous and less invasive than ever!

When To Start Care

Many patients develop bite issues at a young age. The American Association of Orthodontics and Dillehay Orthodontics recommend bringing your child for a consultation as soon as age seven. This way, we are able to monitor the alignment of their teeth as they grow and promptly jump in to help as needed. At this age, children’s jaws are still malleable and move more efficiently, allowing for simpler procedures. Getting ahead of any potential issues before they become more serious is the name of the game!

Of course, teenagers and adults can also have underbites. We welcome patients of all ages to our office to help them feel great about their smile and provide the resources and services to ensure a successful smile journey!

Why Treat an Underbite

Left untreated, an underbite can cause your child physical issues, including trouble with chewing, speech difficulties, and jaw pain or TMJ issues. In addition, an underbite can take an emotional toll if the child is unhappy with the appearance of their smile. A child’s malocclusion rarely fixes itself, so Dr. Dillehay and Dr. JK encourage their patients to come in for a free consultation to help make an informed decision on the next steps. 

Can Early Orthodontic Treatment Correct Underbites in Children?

The Lasting Impact of Correcting an Underbite

Easy Care and Protection 

Thanks to early orthodontics, your child can have aligned teeth earlier in life, making it easier to maintain good oral health to prevent potential long-term issues. Eliminating hard-to-reach spots helps make brushing and flossing a straightforward task, preventing the build-up of bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay. Working to preserve their teeth at an early age allows their permanent teeth the chance to last a lifetime. Your kids will thank you!

Simpler Chewing and Digestion

Correcting an underbite can make chewing a more comfortable experience for your child. Crooked teeth can cause extra pressure to be placed on certain areas of the teeth, making them more susceptible to damage when chewing certain foods or biting them at a harmful angle. 

Additionally, your child may not be able to break down their food into the bite-sized pieces necessary for proper digestion. Straightening teeth protects them from chips and cracks, preventing the need for more invasive dental procedures down the road. With the help of early orthodontic treatment, Dr. Dillehay and Dr. JK can even help encourage your child to try new foods they may have previously avoided because of difficulty with chewing.

Investing In Early Orthodontics

As mentioned, the earlier your child comes into our office, the better we can monitor and address any potential issues before they become more complex. Children experiencing complications with their teeth that affect their everyday lives can often find relief with simpler solutions. There are many straightforward, non-invasive treatment options available to younger patients that are less effective as they grow older. 

Treatment Options

Palatal expanders are used to widen the upper jaw and allow more space as your child’s permanent teeth start emerging. This device is made up of two metal plates that are fitted to the back teeth with a keyhole in the middle. We provide a key to move the plates further away from each other slowly and allow the mouth to adjust to the sensation over a longer period.

Partial braces are used when just a few teeth need readjustment to their proper position. Unlike traditional braces that cover each tooth, we only place braces on the specific teeth necessary to tackle your child’s underbite and space out crowded teeth. This non-invasive treatment option ensures their permanent teeth have the proper growth space.

Reverse-pull face masks place pressure on your child’s upper jaw to shift it forward while it’s still malleable. This custom-fit appliance is similar to headgear in that it attaches to the upper teeth, which are supported with an extension that reaches the forehead. The face mask is prescribed for 16 hours daily, so your child doesn’t need to worry about wearing the appliance to school or when out with friends. It is sometimes used with another appliance, such as a palatal expander, to reach ideal results in less time.

Can Early Orthodontic Treatment Correct Underbites in Children?

Help Your Child Work Toward Perfect Teeth!

We understand undergoing orthodontic treatment can be intimidating, but we are here to make your family’s experience as comfortable as possible! The Dillehay Orthodontics team provides East and West Wichita, Derby, and the surrounding areas with reliable orthodontic support so your family can begin the smile journey worry-free. Schedule your free consultation with us today!