Preventing Surgery To Correct An Underbite

June 20, 2011 Article

SAVAGE AND LAKEVILLE, BURNSVILLE, MINNESOTA- How much would you like to spend on underbite correction- $30,000 or $6,000?
Having your child examined for underbite correction can save you money now and pain later, says Dr. Trudy Bonvino, a Burnsville orthodontist.
An underbite, also referred to as a type of malocclusion, is a dental condition where the lower jaw protrudes up and outward abnormally, partially overlapping with the upper teeth, according to Dental Care Source’s website.

The most common cause for an underbite is heredity. Other causes are tongue thrusting, bad chewing habits and prolonging the use of pacifiers and bottles.
If you see that your child has an underbite, they need to be examined as early as age 7, says Dr. Bonvino, a Burnsville Invisalign expert.
“When I have an adult patient sitting in front of me asking for advice on their underbite, it hurts me to tell them surgery is the only recommendation,” says Dr. Bonvino.

Surgery to correct an underbite can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000. However, having your child’s jaw examined and undergoing early intervention costs $3,000 to $6,000. Which treatment plan would you choose?
Children have it easier when correcting an underbite because their jaw bones have yet to fuse together. The underbite can be redirected with a number of options available at our Burnsville orthodontics office.
Dr. Bonvino, a Burnsville invisible braces provider, explains different options available when fixing an underbite for your child.

Expanders are used to make the upper jaw wider, and they can help to make the bite more precise. The expander is cemented to the top molar and first bicuspid bands and then attached to each other by a metal bar. This bar runs across the roof of the mouth.
To activate the expander, the child uses a turnkey. The key is inserted into a hole, which is attached to the bar at the center of the mouth and pushed back toward the throat.

Reverse-Pull Head Gear
This device is used when the expander fails to work. It consists of a vertical metal bar attached to pads on the forehead and chin. Rubber bands are hooked to the vertical bar and the upper braces to gradually move the upper jaw forward.
The reverse-pull head gear is most effective when worn around age 7, but still can make a difference in moving the jaw up to the age of 10. This appliance requires your child to be compliant, since it has to be worn for at least 12 hours a day, says Dr. Bonvino.

Chin Cap
In the most severe cases, a chin cap can be worn in conjunction with the reverse-pull head gear. This appliance wraps around the chin and top of the head and prevents any movement from the lower jaw.

Adults and Underbite Correction
If you are an adult with an underbite that is skeletal, as opposed to being limited to the teeth, then surgery is your only option, says Dr. Bonvino. Braces typically need to be worn for at least a year prior to surgery and six to nine months afterward.

Braces alone could fix the underbite if it’s confined to the teeth, says Burnsville braces specialist Dr. Bonvino.
Underbite surgery requires an oral surgeon to fracture and reposition the jaw to where it needs to be. In some cases, a piece of the lower jaw may be removed and pushed back. The type of surgery depends on the severity of the underbite and the surgeon doing the procedure.

After surgery, the teeth are wired shut to keep the jaw stable, so a liquid diet is required. A jaw can return to its original position before surgery, but only in rare cases.
Most Burnsville orthodontists would say underbites can’t go untreated. Chances of Temporomandibular Joint disorder, tooth decay, gum disease and speech impediments are too high for the underbite to be left alone. So while your child is young and an underbite is an issue, get them examined as soon as possible.

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