An underbite – technically called a class III malocclusion – is when a person's lower jaw protrudes. This results in a prominent chin and lower teeth that are positioned in front of upper teeth when the mouth is closed. Often, dental underbite – related to tooth positioning – can be fixed via non-surgical orthodontic intervention (braces). However, severe cases of underbite can be caused by asymmetrical jaw growth – a condition called skeletal underbite. Often, orthodontic care alone cannot resolve this type of underbite, but it can be corrected with the help of a Singapore oral and maxillofacial surgeon skilled in cosmetic and reconstructive jaw surgery.
This condition can be caused by an overdeveloped lower jaw, an underdeveloped upper jaw or a combination of both, causing mismatched and poorly aligned jaws. Functional affects of this condition can include poor biting and chewing efficiency, speech impediments, jaw pain and abnormal tooth wear, which can lead to tooth sensitivity, decay, loosening or damage over time, as well as gum disease and infection. A severe skeletal underbite can distort facial features significantly, an issue that often causes low self-esteem and confidence, limiting social and professional success.
When the tendency towards this problem is detected in early childhood, orthodontic specialists can often use various techniques to guide jaw development, eliminating or minimizing the problem through non-surgical intervention. However, when early intervention fails or does not occur, resulting in a substantial discrepancy in size between the upper and lower jaws, orthodontic work alone often cannot provide adequate bite correction, and patients will be referred to a Singapore oral surgeon.
Orthognathic surgery, also called corrective jaw surgery, can be employed to resize and/or reposition one or both jaws. Depending upon the underlying causes of poor jaw alignment, the lower jaw can be moved back or the upper jaw moved forward, and in some cases, both may be necessary to correct a person's bite and facial profile. It is done in conjunction with orthopedic work, which will be undertaken in advance of surgery, repositioning teeth to better suit the upcoming jaw modifications, and in some case, after the procedure to fine-tune the bite.
Underbite correction via orthognathic surgery is not a quick fix. Rather, it is a process of collaboration between a Singapore oral surgeon and orthodontic specialists who place braces that can take months or even years to complete. However, for a person suffering the functional and aesthetic issues of a severe skeletal underbite, the often life-changing results are well worth the time and effort involved in successfully resolving this condition.