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FAQ:  Underbite


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Orthodontics Ask The Orthodontist Corinne Scalzitti Question:
Class 3 Underbite: I'm 18 years old and I have a class 3 underbite.

I have already had braces. I had them for 3 years. I got them off about a year ago. When I had braces my orthodonist had some of my teeth pulled to give my teeth room to move.

Now that my braces are off my friends and I think my teeth look worse than before I had braces. Now my bottom teeth stick out alot farther than my top teeth and now I have gaps where they pulled my teeth.

Is there anything I can do besides surgery? ...Visitor from TX

Answer:
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.

Corinne Scalzitti, DMD, MAGD

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