The most important joint in our body is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Without the joint that supports either side of the jaw, eating and speaking would not be possible. Many people take this important joint for granted.

Poor tooth alignment can cause a condition known as an underbite. Can braces fix an underbite? For most patients, it absolutely can. Orthodontic treatments can help the jawbones align better to correct jaw problems.

Read on to learn how braces and clear aligners can fix an underbite.

What Is an Underbite?

An underbite results from misalignment of the teeth. Individuals with this alignment problem have lower front teeth that jut past the upper front teeth. The positioning of the teeth can leave the lower jaw appearing to be pushed forward.

An underbite can make chewing difficult. Over time, an underbite can lead to serious jaw problems that may require surgery to correct. Even a mild case of underbite will likely require treatment because the resting position of the lower front teeth should ideally be behind the upper teeth.

What Causes Underbites?

Habits can cause underbites, but the misalignment issue is often caused by genetic factors. If one or both of your parents have an underbite then it may be a condition that you inherit. Like other physical traits, an underbite can start early in adolescence.


Thumb-sucking, especially when it occurs past the age of 3, can impact how the teeth and jaw develop. The pressure exerted by the thumb can cause teeth to come in at an angle that leads to an underbite.


If your teeth have spacing issues, whether it’s gapped or crowded teeth, those dental issues can lead to an underbite. Missing teeth could also lead to dental spacing problems. This is one reason why consistent quality dental care from a young age is critical.

Other Common Causes

Overuse of baby bottles, jaw injuries, and tumors can also cause an underbite. Any condition or situation that leads to misaligned teeth can potentially cause an underbite.

Can Braces Fix an Underbite?

Braces offer an effective treatment for correcting underbites. Wardlaw Orthodontics offers Invisalign® clear aligners and ceramic braces. Each treatment option can correct an underbite in several months or a few years, depending on the severity of your underbite.

Complex Cases

For severe cases of underbite that are not caused solely by teeth alignment problems, patients may require jaw surgery. Complex cases of underbite may require a combination of jaw surgery and orthodontic treatment. In those situations, our doctor will coordinate treatments with a trusted maxillofacial surgeon.

The vast majority of people with an underbite can fix underbite without surgery.

How Do Braces Fix an Underbite?

Correcting an underbite requires slowly repositioning the lower jaw. Since the resting position of the upper and lower jaw is determined by how the teeth interconnect (occlusion), an underbite can be corrected by correcting the position of the teeth.

Repositioning Teeth

The gradual repositioning of teeth is done through orthodontic treatment. Under the careful guidance of Dr. David Wardlaw, your custom treatment will focus on repositioning your teeth so your jaws can properly align.

Gentle Pressure

Clear aligners and underbite braces slowly move teeth into better alignment by placing light but consistent pressure on certain teeth. As teeth move into better alignment, the underlying jawbone adjusts to the movements by slowly generating or absorbing jawbone tissue as needed.

Maintaining Your Beautiful Smile

Following orthodontic treatment, patients should wear their retainers every night. Over time, teeth shifting can reverse the progress that you made. In some cases, symptoms of underbite can return if patients do not maintain their results by wearing their retainer.

What Are My Options for Braces?

The underbite braces treatment process will vary depending on which treatment route you take. Our office proudly offers clear aligners, ceramic braces, and traditional metal braces. Each treatment option safely and effectively repositions teeth.


Invisalign® was the first company to innovate clear aligner technology. Invisalign® continues to be the go-to option for teeth straightening. The clear aligners are virtually invisible.

Each tray fits snuggly over the upper or lower arch of teeth. Our patients simply press the aligners in place, and the clear trays are designed to stay in place.

Each successive tray is more straight than the previous tray. Over time, your teeth will move into better alignment, and your underbite will gradually disappear. Once you are done using the trays, Dr. Wardlaw will provide you with a retainer that holds your teeth in their correct position.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces work similarly to traditional braces. Instead of bulky metal brackets, our office uses ceramic brackets that match the color and luster of teeth. The treatments offer an aesthetically pleasing means of straightening teeth.

Dr. Wardlaw uses a treatment practice called “indirect bonding” that allows our patients to enjoy shorter treatment timelines. If you are a better fit for traditional metal braces, our doctors can have you fitted with that treatment option.

Schedule Your Underbite Consultation Today

Many of our patients ask, “Can braces fix an underbite?” Orthodontic treatment offers an effective means of correcting an underbite. Our patients can enjoy the many cosmetic benefits of a beautiful smile and a pleasing jawline position following the treatment.

Whether you need traditional braces, ceramic braces, or clear aligners, Dr. Wardlaw can use those treatments to correct your underbite. His focus as an orthodontist is providing clinical excellence and great results. To schedule your visit to our office, please contact our team today.