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FAQ:  Underbite

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Class 3 Underbite: My daughter is 8 years old and has a class 3 underbite.

I have taken her to 2 dentists. Dentist no. 1 said she must go to an orthodontist for braces and dentist no. 2 said we should do nothing till she is 12 when she could have her lower jaw broken and reset by a maxillo-facial surgeon.

Dentist no 2 also said that her jaw will go back to how it was after braces have been removed as she is still growing. I would really appreciate your advice. ...Visitor from South Africa

Your second dentist is right.

If your eight year old has a true skeletal Class III underbite, she will require surgery in the future to correct her bite.

However, in Class III prognathic cases (lower jaw being strong) these types of cases will require a lower jaw setback once all growth is completed.

Fortunately, for many females this can be around the age of 15-16 years of age. I would recommend taking her to a reputable oral maxillo-facial surgeon in your area who will guide you to an orthodontist who understand these types of cases.

The problem I see in these true skeletal Class III cases are these children are over treated trying to correct the underbite orthodontically when all along surgical-orthodontics was the ideal treatment plan.

This cases can be treated very easily in about 16-22 months of treatment, however surgery will be required in conjunction to orthodontics to achieve a good bite and normal facial esthetics.

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