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Understanding Open Bite – How to Fix it
The teeth are a particular sour spot for anyone without that perfect smile. Dental imperfections and problems come in all packages, and one of the most common problems is an open bite. As the name suggests, an open bite is a condition where, the upper and lower teeth are misaligned such that, even when the mouth is meant to be closed, it appears open. It is a common malocclusion, especially among young children. Fortunately, open bites can be corrected, and in this article, Vita Dental Springs will help you understand open bites, and how to fix them.
Types of Open Bites
- Anterior Open Bite: this is when the teeth are biting together, and there is no overlap between the opposing teeth.
- Posterior Open Bite: This type of bite has a space in the back teeth, even when the teeth are biting together.
- Incomplete Overbite: This is where the lower front teeth do not touch the upper front teeth.
Main Causes of an Open Bite
Open bites are common in younger patients and are the result of habits that put a strain on teeth alignment:
- Sucking on the lower lip and thumb is common in infants and toddlers, and if not stopped within good time, can interfere with proper teeth alignment.
- Tongue thrusting is a habit where young children put their tongue out and eventually push the front lower teeth forward.
- Open bites may also be caused by disorders such as the temporomandibular joint disorder, that causes chronic jaw pain. Patients push their teeth apart using their tongue in an attempt to make their jaw more comfortable.
With regular dental checkups, open bites in children can be detected early and corrected. Preventive measures can also be taken since parents are given advice accordingly. Vita Dental Springs advises parents to bring their children in for regular checkups, and save on later procedure costs.
What are The Treatment Options available for an Open Bite?
Roller Appliance: This is a small roller type bead that is placed at the back of the front teeth, and secured to a brace attached to the molars. The roller restrains the teeth and helps prevent it from thrusting forward.
High- Pull Headgear: This is an orthopedic appliance that is used to guide jaw growth and improve alignment. It is worn outside the mouth and is attached to the upper jaw, the back and the top of the head, where is able to apply direct force.
Bite Block: A plastic appliance that is placed over the molar to adjust the back teeth and correct an open bite.
Vertical Chin Up: This is an appliance that controls the growth of the lower portion of the face by preventing the chin from growing back and downwards.
Mini Anchors: Used to intrude the back teeth in the upper jaw for an autorotation of the lower jaw along the hinge. The auto-rotation causes the front teeth to overlap. This method is suitable for an anterior overlap.
Open Bite Surgery: Surgery is a suitable option for children and that have already experienced complete growth. The oral surgeon places the upper jaw in a new position and secures it with plates and screws.
Braces: Open bite surgery comes with its challenges. The procedure is highly invasive and painful for the patient. Healing time is required, which means that the patient may be out of work for some time, and under heavy medication to control pain and prevent infection to exposed tissue.
If possible, braces can be installed to pull back the teeth into position. The type of braces to be installed and the period for installation depends on the patient. The orthodontist will carry out a relevant assessment before selecting a particular treatment.
What Happens If I Do Not Treat an Open Bite?
- The first reason for correcting open bites is the aesthetic appeal of a correct bite. Open bites distort smiles, which affects a patient’s self-esteem. How you feel about your looks ultimately affects how confident you are.
- People with an open bite develop a lisp, which affects their communications, and its effectiveness thereof.
- Open bites cause complications during biting and chewing. Food can fall out if not effectively held back by the tongue
- The posterior teeth can also wear out, as a result of constant friction, which causes heightened teeth sensitivity.
How Do I Know If I have an Open Bite?
Usually, the teeth should align vertically, with the upper teeth slightly overlapping the lower teeth. If you feel that the overlap is too big, or that you still have space between a bite, then you should visit your dentist. People with open bites also have lisps that can be easily detected. For the best assessment, it’s wise to visit the dentist.
Where Can I Have My Open Bite Fixed?
Vita Dental Spring is a fully operational dental facility that provides treatment for various dental conditions. If you feel that you or your child has an open bite, come in for a consultation. Once established, our dentists will find the best solution for your open bite.
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