Under Bite

In an under bite, the lower teeth grow or extend past the upper front teeth. While this is less frequent in comparison to the overbite, it is not a rare condition by any means. Medically the situation is described as a class III malocclusion. It is also called prognathism.


During infancy, the jaws and tooth structure are very susceptible to pressures and habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and prolonged use of pacifiers and feeding bottles.

This can lead to an under bite. Sometimes, an accident or a tumor may also cause severe damage to the jaw, which could cause this malocclusion.

Very often, the undergrowth of an upper jaw or overgrowth of the lower jaw can be the cause. It can also occur due to flared upper incisors, missing lower incisors or both occurring in some combination to a varying degree. Dentists usually recommend early correction of under bite conditions.


Dentists recommend that underbites be corrected early because they can cause poor functioning of the teeth, and can lead to digestive problems. The molars of a person suffering from this condition will not fit together correctly, often resulting in chewing difficulty.

Incorrect seating of teeth will also result in uneven wear and will result in damage to teeth. In many cases, the upper teeth will interfere with the lower gums and could even damage them.

A patient may also find that he has a greater tendency to bite his tongue. If the condition is severe, it may also aggravate jaw joint (TMJ) problems.

Treatment of an under bite is often more involved than overbites or other, simpler malocclusions. Often the orthodontist will need to modify the jaw growth or extract some teeth. In extreme case, there may be need for surgical intervention.

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Dr. Ashouri


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Nahal Ashouri, DDS, MS
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