Ideally the lower front teeth are supposed to lie behind the upper teeth. When the lower teeth land in front of the upper teeth with the jaw closed, this creates a condition referred to as underbite. This affects the molars and the upper incisor teeth. Patients with underbite have a more prominent lower jaw than normal and this condition exists in approximately 3 to 5 percent of the population.
Mostly due to genetic reasons, underbite can develop in children with a prolonged history of pacifier use. However, thumb sucking, bad chewing habits can worsen this condition. In additional, adenoid or allergy problems, that cause breathing through the mouth, can also contribute to underbite. Left untreated this condition can deteriorate quickly.
Primarily difficulty in chewing is the most obvious symptom of underbite. Over a period of time headaches and TMJ, an inflammation and arthritis of the joint near the temples which connects the lower jaw and the rest of the head, may develop.
Patients with underbite will require careful monitoring of jaw growth and tooth development.
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