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FAQ:  Orthodontics - Children - Teens

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Developing Underbite in 6 year old: My son is neasrly 6 years old and has an underbite.

It is not severe, but does affect his smile. The dentist has suggested that we use a reverse pull headgear and that his is the ideal age to do it so he may not require surgery in the future.

Other answers on your web site lead one to believe that an underbite can be fixed, then come back.

Is this the time to fix his underbite? Or is it better to wait until his permenant teeth start to come in? ....Visitor from UT

If his jaw is sliding forward because the upper teeth are tilted back, we as orthodontists refer to this malocclusion as a Psuedo-Class III.

This can simply be corrected now by orthodontically pushing the front teeth forward. This is easier than using a reverse pull headgear.

If your child however at age six has a true Skeletal Class III malocclusion where the upper jaw is behind the lower jaw or the lower jaw is ahead of the upper jaw or a combination of both, your child will require surgery in the future to correct this malocclusion.

I see these children put through years of orthodontic treatment only to require surgery once growth is complete. If it is a true skeletal problem, trust me, just wait and monitor growth.

If his problem is nothing more than him sliding his lower jaw forward because of the position of the upper and lower teeth, orthodontically push the front teeth forward and your problem is solved.

You do not need a reverse pull headgear to accomplish this. You need to seek a second opinion.

Editorial Staff

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