The short answer to your question is that the way to correct an
underbite depends upon the specific root cause of the underbite. Most
sites I visited indicated that surgery would eventually be necessary
in most cases, but if the patient is a younger child, there are some
non-operative options. In all cases, patients should consult in person
with a qualified oral surgeon or orthodontist to discuss their cases.
Here is a site that explains a non-surgical option for correcting
underbite in a child less than 8. The treatment first uses a jaw
expander on the upper jaw, which is adjusted nightly by the patient.
After the upper jaw expands sufficiently, a retainer is usually used
to allow the jaw to ?mold? into place. The child is then fitted with a
facemask to further align the jaw. These treatments are followed by
traditional braces and retainers for a number of years. The time a
patient needs to wear these depends on each individual case.
This statement comes from the Kentucky Center for Orthodontics.
?Mild cases can often be successfully treated with full braces and
elastic rubber bands. In severe instances, Orthognathic Jaw Surgery in
conjunction with orthodontics during adulthood may be required. In
contrast, children as young as age six or seven may be good candidates
for orthopedic correction in conjunction with full braces, thereby
eliminating the need for jaw surgery later in life.?
Orthodontics Limited, a Philadelphia orthodontics practice, makes a
similar statement on their office website.
?Underbite can sometimes be corrected through jaw growth modification
using appliances on the teeth along with nighttime headgear wear. In
other cases, extraction of teeth and/or jaw surgery is needed.?
Here are a few links to questions others have asked on the internet,
with answers from various orthodontists.
I hope that this answers your question. Of course, this information
cannot substitute for the professional opinion of an experienced and
qualified orthodontist. Be sure to consult with an appropriate
professional before making any decision. If you have need of any
clarification, please let me know how I can help!
Orthodontic underbite correction