Dear Valued Patient:

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and stay safe.

Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.

You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:

- Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You'll be asked those same questions again when you are in the office.

- We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. You will also find some in the reception area and other places in the office for you to use as needed.

- You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children's toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.

- Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you're offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.

- We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office at 704-364-9000. 

Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.

Sincerely,

Dr. Porter and Team

Illustration of skull with underbite

Underbite

An underbite occurs when your lower teeth close over the top of your upper teeth.  Underbites can cause difficulty chewing and speaking.

Caused by a misalignment of the jaw, an underbite can be corrected with a range of treatments to improve your comfort and appearance.

So how do I know if I need treatment for an underbite?

Illustration of skull with underbite

If Your Underbite Is More Than a Cosmetic Concern, You May Need to See an Orthodontist

Do You Have Issues Eating or Speaking?

An underbite can interfere with normal daily activities, including chewing and speaking.

Do You Suffer from Chronic Pain?

For some patients, underbites cause chronic jaw pain, as well as head and earaches.

Do You Have Breathing Difficulties?

Underbites can also affect your breathing, causing chronic bad breath, sleep apnea, and snoring.

Comparison of normal bite and underbite Comparison of normal bite and underbite
 

Underbites Have a Distinctive Appearance

Clinically referred to as a Class III Malocclusion, an underbite occurs when the bottom teeth noticeably protrude beyond the upper teeth.

Genetics Play a Major Role in Whether You Develop an Underbite

If one of your parents or grandparents had an underbite, there is a much larger chance that you will, too. In addition, certain ethnic groups are more likely to develop underbites, including those of Asian descent.

A famous example of the genetic nature of this trait is the "Habsburg jaw." Many generations of the royal Habsburg family in Europe were known for their distinctive protruding lower jaws, which are believed to have been the result of an underbite.

Certain Environmental Factors Can Cause an Underbite

Tongue Thrusting

Constant thrusting of the tongue against the teeth can move your smile out of position and cause an underbite.

Childhood Habits

Habits such as thumb sucking and pacifier use in early childhood can also affect the way the jaw develops.

Mouth Breathing

Breathing through your mouth forces the tongue to rest against the lower jaw and increases the chance of an underbite.

Underbites Are Much Less Common Than Overbites

Your Dentist Can Diagnose Jaw Issues During a Routine Exam

In most cases, an underbite is easy to identify with a simple visual exam. However, your dentist or orthodontist will likely perform a complete evaluation of your teeth and jaw to determine the severity of your condition.

During the appointment, your dentist may take x-rays, photographs, and impressions to examine the specific relationship between your teeth, jaws, and head.

Doctor examining woman's jaw

Early Intervention May Help a Child Avoid an Underbite

Limit Pacifier and Bottle Use

Parents of young children can help their child's jaw form properly by limiting their pacifier and bottle use. Speak to your doctor or a dentist about the best time to begin this process.

Treat Mouth Breathing

If you notice your child snores or breathes through their mouth, you may be able to prevent issues in jaw development by treating these concerns early

An Underbite Can Have a Major Impact on Your Daily Life

"In its most severe form, the Class III malocclusion can be functionally and/or socially debilitating."  Family History and Genetics of Mandibular Prognathism

Braces Are the Most Common Treatment for an Underbite

The most commonly used treatment for underbites and other bite issues is orthodontics. Metal braces can adjust the position of teeth and improve jaw alignment to address an underbite.

Illustration of braces Illustration of braces

Your Orthodontist Can Find the Right Treatment for You

Aligners

For minor underbites, clear aligners, such as Invisalign®, can provide results.

Special Appliances

Devices, such as expanders, retainers, or headgear, may be used to treat an underbite. 

Surgery

Severe underbites may require surgery. However, jaw surgery is typically only performed as a last resort.

Schedule an Appointment to Learn More

Depending on the severity, an underbite can have a serious impact on your oral health and quality of life. Scheduling an appointment with a doctor is the best way to find out whether you need treatment.

Dr. Porter

Charles A. Porter III, DDS

Dr. Porter implements the latest developments and highest standards in dentistry. He is a member of several prestigious organizations, including the:

  • American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • North Carolina Dental Society 

To schedule your consultation, contact our Charlotte office online or call us at (704) 364-9000.

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Charlotte Office

135 S Sharon Amity Rd
Ste 200
Charlotte, NC 28211

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