If you’ve ever had the occasion to speak with someone about how to correct an underbite, your conversation no doubt centered on the painful idea of having to “break” the jawbone, weeks on a liquid diet because of a jaw that was then wired shut, and the application of braces both before and after surgery. Understandably, such conversations tend to elicit a lot of wincing on the part of the patient ... are there alternatives? Let’s find out.
Expanders: Expanders are often used to correct a crossbite – a situation where either the upper or lower bite is narrower than the other. An expander helps adjust the spread of a child’s teeth so the bite matches evenly on all sides. Expanders resemble orthodontic retainers, and include a screw that is tightened nightly so as to “spread” your bite to the prescribed measurements.
Braces: You may have had them as a kid, and you might need them again. Seeing an adult with braces isn’t as much an odd sight as it may have been in the recent past, and given that many of us didn’t wear our retainers as we were instructed, it’s not much of a surprise. Braces alone can sometimes alleviate a lot of bite concerns, and if your bite is only slightly off, solutions like Invisalign can be an even less intrusive method to correct your bite.
Bonding, Implants and Reconstruction: Braces and expanders not going to cut it for you? If you’ve experienced dental trauma in the past, or just weren’t on top of your oral health care routine, you might need a bit more help. But, no fear … simple bonding, implants and “reconstruction” that could include new crowns and even veneers can deliver the solution you’re seeking.
Veneers: Speaking of veneers, it’s amazing how even an underbite can be cosmetically altered so the teeth give the appearance of no underbite. There is a good degree of artistry with this approach, and when done correctly, this creative placement of veneers on the upper jaw mimics a jaw in proper alignment.
Fixing a bad bite doesn’t have to be fraught with expense and pain. Speak with your dentist and orthodontist about the options available to you, and before you know it, you’ll be looking and feeling a whole lot better.