An underbite is a type of dental malocclusion where your lower teeth protrude past your upper teeth. It’s usually caused by a misalignment of your jaws. We can treat underbites using fixed or removable braces or, sometimes, a combination of braces and jaw surgery.

What is an underbite?

When you bite together, it’s normal for your upper front teeth to overlap your lower teeth slightly. Occasionally, the reverse can happen, and your upper teeth sit behind your lower teeth. This is known as an underbite – or a reverse overjet.

An underbite is also known as a class 3 malocclusion, which is where your lower molars sit in front of your upper molars. If your jaws are correctly positioned and it’s the position of your teeth that are creating an underbite, you have a dental class 3 malocclusion. If your jaws are incorrectly positioned, you have a skeletal class 3 malocclusion.


What causes an underbite?

You most likely inherited your underbite – our genetics influence not only our jaw size but the shape and size of our teeth, too.

Persistent habits that put pressure on your teeth, for example, prolonged thumb sucking, can also change the position of your teeth and create an underbite.

In rare cases, an injury can change how your jawbones fit together, and your lower jaw can protrude, causing an underbite.

Why we treat underbites

If your underbite is mild and doesn’t cause you any issues, you don’t need orthodontic treatment unless you want to change the appearance of your smile.

If you choose to undergo orthodontic treatment for a separate concern, for example, crowding or spacing, we can usually address your underbite at the same time.

If your underbite is more significant, you may find it challenging to bite into things and chew your food efficiently. You might also experience premature wear on certain teeth.

A severe underbite can impact the appearance of your teeth and your face. A pronounced chin is a common characteristic of a skeletal underbite.

Treatments for underbites

We may be able to treat your underbite with braces alone. Sometimes, we recommend a combination of braces and surgery for the best outcome.

At your initial consultation, Dr. Jackie Bracken will carry out a detailed assessment and present you with all your treatment options.

Our prices include retainers and one year of aftercare, so we can help you maintain your new smile in the future.


Clear aligners are a convenient way to treat most concerns, including underbites. You’ll wear a series of custom-made aligners, which will move your teeth little by little towards your goal.

You can take your aligners out to eat and drink, and you can even remove them to brush and floss as usual. They’re a popular choice for all ages.

Fixed braces

If you prefer fixed braces, we also offer metal and clear fixed appliances. Choose from metal brackets or discreet clear ceramic ones. They both work brilliantly – aligning your teeth with exceptional precision.

Some fixed braces use elastic ligatures to hold the archwire in place. These ligatures come in a wide array of colours – and you can change your look each time we adjust your braces.

Jaw surgery

If your jaws are positioned incorrectly, we can correct this through a combination of braces and jaw surgery. Together, they can achieve life-changing results – transforming your teeth and profile.

If we think you could benefit from jaw surgery, we can refer you to the hospital for a surgical consultation. Once you’ve been assessed by a maxillofacial surgeon, you’ll return to the practice to discuss your final treatment options.

Ready to meet our specialist team?

As a specialist orthodontic practice, we provide teeth straightening solutions for adults and children. You can choose from all the latest treatments and benefit from years of orthodontic experience.

To learn more about your options, you can get started with a free virtual consultation or visit us in Clonmel or Newbridge for a face-to-face assessment.