What Is an Underbite? How Is it Treated?

Generally, we love the gifts our families give. Christmas, our birthday, and other special occasions are great celebrations. However, some of the “gifts” our families bestow aren’t so special. You know, like those pesky inherited traits. 

If you have an underbite, you’ve most likely inherited it from a relative. An underbite is when the lower teeth extend outward in front of the upper front teeth. Like an overbite, an underbite is a type of malocclusion that means your jaw relationship is reversed. Sadly, an underbite is sometimes compared to the teeth and mouth of a bulldog. 

Other factors causing an underbite

Besides heredity, there are a couple of other reasons you could develop an underbite. 

  • An injury to the jaw
  • Tumors in the mouth or on the jawbone

Symptoms associated with an underbite

An underbite isn’t just a cosmetic issue. Serious health problems can occur depending on the severity of the misalignment. There are several oral health issues that can be caused by an underbite.

  • Speech challenges, including a lisp.
  • Chronic face or jaw pain which can include TMJ Syndrome, a problem with your jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement.
  • Low self-esteem due to an abnormal appearance of the face

Treatment for an underbite


If your child has signs of an underbite that will most likely cause oral health issues in the future, it’s best to have them examined early. Treatment may begin by widening the upper jaw. A palate expander is put in place at a young age (somewhere between 7 and 10) allowing the permanent teeth to align in a better position. 

However, the lower jaw will keep growing until the age of 18 – 19 in girls and 20 – 21 in boys. By starting treatment early, your children will hopefully avoid jaw surgery down the line.


For adults, severe underbites might require surgery. In some cases, removal of teeth may be required. 

How Dr. Foote can help

As always, the best defense against oral health problems is to begin visiting Dr. Foote at an early age. Regular visits every six months make all the difference. In addition, continue practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily. 

If you are suffering from TMJ Syndrome, Dr. Foote will examine your jaw, discuss your symptoms and limitations before recommending the ideal treatment option. In many cases, this condition is treated through exercises, self-care, stress reduction, medication, or appliances.

Contact Dr. Foote and schedule a consultation to have him evaluate your condition and provide you with treatment options. It’s never too late to get started.