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if your child had a severe underbite corrected...


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Could you tell me about the treatment?

My dentist is recommending some appliance ASAP. He says that as DS-almost-9 gets more and more adult teeth, the window closes because the jaw gets harder. Obviously, I'm not thrilled at the idea of starting this during COVID, yet, I also don't jump at the idea of getting his jaw broken in the future (the alternative option if we wait too long).

I'd like to know specifically about the treatment so I can have an idea of what it requires. DD13 is in year 4 or 5 of braces (she had a tooth or two knocked out as a kid and ended up with everything coming in jumbled; this is round two for her), so we do have to go to the orthodontist regularly as is.

Emily

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One of mine didn't have a severe underbite, but it definitely needed correction. They put some sort of appliance (that was the word they used, but it looked like a Z shape made from some sort of metal) that they put in, anchored somehow (?) to both sides of her mouth. We had to take her in periodically (maybe 6 weeks?) for a short visit where they unscrewed (or maybe screwed) to make it push the teeth out.  It was so much easier than the braces later. The time she spent getting adjusted was also less than when she had braces.  But that was 15? years ago, so it may be different now. I'd call and ask what is involved, time commitment, appointment frequency, time for adjusting, etc, so you are fully armed with the knowledge of what your provider will be doing. 

I'd do it without hesitation due to the other possibility of no action now.  

Edited by Bambam
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My dd17 has had an underbite since she was very small. She went through orthodontic treatment from age 6-9 but it did not sufficiently address the underbite or crossbite.  She is currently back in orthodontic treatment in preparation for upper & lower jaw surgery.  I'd recommend a second opinion if you don't have all your questions answered by the first orthodontist, but ultimately do everything you possibly can to address the underbite before surgery is your only option. This is a lifelong medical/dental issue- its not simply cosmetic. 

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My daughter had a cleft lip/palate so she had a severe underbite. When she was 8/9? she had an appliance that had forehead and chin plates with a bar connecting them.  Attached to the bar were rubber bands anchored to her top jaw.  It did work.  I am watching her as she grows and so far, the underbite hasn’t returned. She may need braces again though.  We were looking at jaw surgery if it didn’t work so it was worth a try for us.  This was the appliance she used.  I was super thankful we were homeschooling at the time!  https://www.polarisorthodonticcenter.com/orthodontic-appliances.html

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My oldest had a significant underbite corrected about the same time.  I was told that for boys especially, it's important to do this before puberty.  He wore head gear for years and now has a permanent retainer.  It wasn't a huge deal; the more faithful he was wearing his appliance (head gear) the better his outcome.  It helps to be homeschooled, since he would wear it during the day.  If he'd gone to PS, he wouldn't have worn his head gear during school.  Overall, I think it was much less of a deal than braces later.

I also recommend a second opinion, which means getting more than one quote from different orthodontic offices.  And I think medical/dental offices are some of the safest places to be in the midst of covid..kind of like flying right after 9/11.  They are so careful!

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We did it twice with two different children with the hope of avoiding jaw surgery in the future.  For both it worked well.  Daughter was 7 when the used head gear, her teeth/jaw turned out great.  Son was 12 and it worked but with boys their jaw continues growing much later.  His final outcome was good but not as good as daughter's.   Thankfully neither needed jaw surgery and are now 19 and 25

 

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Agreeing with PPs.  Dentist told us when the child needed to see the orthodontist (around 9yo).

Palate spreader initially, then braces with rubber bands.  It all worked like a charm!

Edited by Beth S
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Ds 26 had them when he was around 9 years old I think.  Palate spreader, then braces with bands.  Then he had a second round of braces as a teen.  Unfortunately, he will still need the surgery where they break his jaw someday because his bite is still bad.  😞  I guess there's only so much orthodontics can do in a stubborn case.  

 

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6 hours ago, EmilyGF said:

Could you tell me about the treatment?

My dentist is recommending some appliance ASAP. He says that as DS-almost-9 gets more and more adult teeth, the window closes because the jaw gets harder. Obviously, I'm not thrilled at the idea of starting this during COVID, yet, I also don't jump at the idea of getting his jaw broken in the future (the alternative option if we wait too long).

I'd like to know specifically about the treatment so I can have an idea of what it requires. DD13 is in year 4 or 5 of braces (she had a tooth or two knocked out as a kid and ended up with everything coming in jumbled; this is round two for her), so we do have to go to the orthodontist regularly as is.

Emily

I would recommend a few consultations with other orthodontists.  Their methods and thinking can vary greatly.

We had two orthodontists recommend teeth pulling and appliances at age 8, and a second round when hey got older.  Another orthodontist said that’s bunk.  As adult teeth come in, more room is made, the jaw grows etc, and said to call him back in several years.  He’s who we went with.  And none of the kids needed teeth pulled, one needed an appliance.

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3 hours ago, matrips said:

I would recommend a few consultations with other orthodontists.  Their methods and thinking can vary greatly.

We had two orthodontists recommend teeth pulling and appliances at age 8, and a second round when hey got older.  Another orthodontist said that’s bunk.  As adult teeth come in, more room is made, the jaw grows etc, and said to call him back in several years.  He’s who we went with.  And none of the kids needed teeth pulled, one needed an appliance.

I will echo this. Do get another opinion (or 2--we did 3 to break the "tie"). 

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My son has a herbst appliance to fix the lower jaw/underbite. He is currently almost 18 and will be finishing the treatment this year (February). We began when he was 15 or 16, I believe.

Is it the herbst appliance your Ortho is recommending? It has worked beautifully for my son.

My other kids used headgear and bands, but his was too severe.

I don't regret it at all, but I wouldn't have done it at 9.  Just a note that I don't recommend this late either. It is no fun to go through senior year with orthodontics. 

HTH!

Edited by Rebecca
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So, I initiated a second opinion today with my daughter's current ortho. I really trust the dentist who did the initial consult. He's never told me my three other kids need braces, so I don't think he over-treats reasonable teeth.

I wish my daughter's first ortho hadn't moved away and started a new practice. Sigh. 

Emily

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We're facing this with an older kid with a severe overbite & a class 2 maloclusion. I'd feel a lot better if our ortho hadn't retired & been replaced by a young upstart interested in selling the newest everything. We're getting a 2nd opinion but they don't have openings until Thanksgiving.

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15 hours ago, EmilyGF said:

Could you tell me about the treatment?

My dentist is recommending some appliance ASAP. He says that as DS-almost-9 gets more and more adult teeth, the window closes because the jaw gets harder. Obviously, I'm not thrilled at the idea of starting this during COVID, yet, I also don't jump at the idea of getting his jaw broken in the future (the alternative option if we wait too long).

I'd like to know specifically about the treatment so I can have an idea of what it requires. DD13 is in year 4 or 5 of braces (she had a tooth or two knocked out as a kid and ended up with everything coming in jumbled; this is round two for her), so we do have to go to the orthodontist regularly as is.

Emily

My DS inherited this problem (runs in my family) and I have consulted multiple dentists, orthos, and oral surgeons. The consensus view was to wait until he is at or near maturity and do oral surgery to lengthen the jaw. Anything done before growth is complete will be undone by further growth. Doing ortho before surgery is slapping a fancy dress on a cow. It’s not gonna work and be a waste of money. Does the surgery suck, yes, but it is one/done and fully covered followed by 12-18 months in braces. Braces for 4-5 years that might still result in surgery isn’t what anyone we’ve spoken to recommends.

Edited by Sneezyone
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6 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

My DS inherited this problem (runs in my family) and I have consulted multiple dentists, orthos, and oral surgeons. The consensus view was to wait until he is at or near maturity and do oral surgery to lengthen the jaw. Anything done before growth is complete will be undone by further growth. Doing ortho before surgery is slapping a fancy dress on a cow. It’s not gonna work and be a waste of money. Does the surgery suck, yes, but it is one/done and fully covered followed by 12-18 months in braces. Braces for 4-5 years that might still result in surgery isn’t what anyone we’ve spoken to recommends.

I wish someone had told us this before two of my kids went through four rounds of braces, but still need the surgery as adults.  😞  I do think one of them needed the braces because it did fix the underbite temporarily, but still...so much money trying to avoid the inevitable.  

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12 hours ago, Kassia said:

I wish someone had told us this before two of my kids went through four rounds of braces, but still need the surgery as adults.  😞  I do think one of them needed the braces because it did fix the underbite temporarily, but still...so much money trying to avoid the inevitable.  

I think we benefitted from being OCONUS/overseas. There were people pushing me to put braces on DD much earlier too and that would also have been a mistake. She just got them last year and will only have an 18 month course of treatment. She, too, needed oral surgery but it was to remove extra teeth and wisdom teeth. I really think the push to use ortho super early, when kids are still growing, is a boondoggle. It's especially bad for boys because they keep growing into their early 20s. We've been told to wait until age 18-19 depending on anticipated adult height.

Edited by Sneezyone
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