Open Bite

Open Bite

Open bite: problems and treatment

Dental treatments may seem complicated, especially when you have little or no knowledge about the dental problem. If your orthodontic problem is an open bite, and you are concerned about what your treatment will entail, you have nothing to worry about as this write-up covers the following, so you know things to expect during and after your treatment.

  • The definition of open bite
  • Symptoms of open bite
  • Problems resulting from an open bite
  • Treatment options for an open bite to help you decide if veneers, braces Invisalign or surgery is suitable for you
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Table of contents

What is an open bite?

An open bite occurs when some top and bottom teeth do not meet when you close your teeth. Usually, the top front teeth sit slightly in front of the bottom teeth. The front teeth are also a bit lower with the molars at the back connecting. In an open bite, the teeth will not be in their right position as there is always space between the top and bottom jaws.

You may have an open bite alongside other orthodontic issues like a crossbite, underbite and overbite.

RECENT GOOGLE REVIEWS

Highly recommend Museum Dental Suite. Their work is of the highest calibre, professional and friendly. I'm very thankful they for excellent aftercare advice and for making me relaxed and so well treated. I've recommended them to both my family and friends.

I have been undertaking a cosmetic treatment (Invisalign) for around eight months here, off the back of a recommendation of a friend who had the same treatment. The professionalism and perfectionism with which my treatment was delivered was outstanding, as was the general service and were all of the staff I encountered.

My dentist Dr. Wahab Shakir was particularly great, with a friendly, reassuring manner and an eye for detail. He always went above and beyond, without ever being asked.

I'm now almost at the end of my treatment and couldn't be more pleased with how treatment has gone. Given the service and end result I'd also consider it excellent value for money.

Keep up the good work Museum Dental Suites!

What is an anterior open bite?

An anterior open bite is an orthodontic condition where the front teeth do not connect properly when the back teeth are already connected. A few persons experience this condition, and the percentage of persons with an open bite varies between countries

What is a posterior open bite?

A posterior open bite is just the opposite of an anterior open bite. In a posterior open bite, the back teeth do not connect when the front teeth are already in contact. This type of open bite is not a common one, but sometimes, it results from treatment with braces. Your dentist may spot signs of a posterior open bite during your treatment with braces and take steps to correct it.

What are the symptoms of an open bite?

You can quickly notice an open bite just by looking at the teeth when you bite down. If you see a gap between the top and bottom teeth when you bite down, it means you have an open bite.

If your open bite is as a result of problems with the jawbone, it means that there is excess bone growth at the back of your upper jaw which pushes the teeth to protrude out(overjet).

Causes of an open bite?

Different reasons are responsible for the development of an open bite. They include the following.

  • Sucking on the thumb, a dummy, pencil or pen
  • Problems with the jawbones
  • Genetics
  • Temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ)
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Irregular sprouting of milk and adult teeth
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Case 9 Befor Case 9 After

Families with a history of jaw development problems are likely to have more persons with an open bite. If the open bite results from bone issues, it is a skeletal open bite, but if it results from habits like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, it is a dental open bite.

Problems resulting from open bites

If your orthodontic issue is an open bite, you may experience the following problems.

  • Lisping and other speech difficulties
  • Difficulty in eating certain foods
  • Self-consciousness when you smile
  • Increases wear on the back teeth

Open bite problems in children

Infants and young children also develop an open bite. Usually, the open bite closes up on its own at about the age of four. When a child’s milk teeth fall off, and the adult teeth begin to erupt, it is normal for the teeth not to meet in the middle.

When a few adult teeth erupt, the dentist will check the alignment of the new teeth, and recommend treatment for any potential problem. If your child sucks in the thumb, uses a dummy, or spends a lot of time putting the thing in the mouth, it increases the likelihood of having an open bite.

Problems resulting from tongue thrusting

Tongue thrusting is a significant cause of open bite. Tongue thrusting means that when you swallow and talk, the tongue thrusts forward into the mouth, and this makes the front teeth to move outwards to form an open bite gradually. Tongue thrusting is a habit common in children, but, most times, they outgrow it at about four years.

Jaw problems

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) allows the mouth to open. When people have problems with this joint, they tend to move their mouth and tongue around to feel comfortable. Resting the tongue forward in the mouth or between the teeth may feel more comfortable, but in either of these positions, the tongue pushes the teeth forward and causes an open bite.

Treatment will involve that of fixing the joint issue and correcting the open bite problem.

RECENT GOOGLE REVIEWS

Firstly what a great dentist, all the staff were friendly and very helpful as this was my first time here.

I had called for an emergency appointment due to a sudden cracked tooth and Dr Wahab Shakir despite the end of day fast approaching (30 minutes till close) he said he would see me.

The treatment was not straight forward due to the crack but Dr Shakir after a lengthy time managed to save the tooth/restore it and prevent what I believe most dentists would have done which install a crown - Thank you!

Highly recommend this dentist and service and I am grateful for not only seeing me within an hour but also staying passed closing time and finally for doing a Stella job.

This is a top notch dentist who makes you feel at ease which for someone liked me is important. The staff are very professional, polite, courteous and friendly. Marios, my dentist is extremely patient and cares about your dental care and the service you receive. Just received my new dentures and they have been done to a very high standard and am very pleased. I have nothing but praise for the staff and the treatment/service I received.

Treatment options for open bite

Identifying an open bite early in childhood increases the chances of fixing the problem without surgery. Most adults with open bites usually require surgery to correct the problem. Your dentist willtell you the right treatment option for you.

People under 18 years and adults that their open bite could lead to other medical problems are eligible to receive free dental treatment on the NHS. The cost of open bite treatment in private dental practices depends on the amount of treatment you need.

The table below summarises the different treatment options for people of different ages.

Age

Treatment and intervention options

0 – 4

1. Tongue thrusting and open bite are normal

2. No need for an intervention

3. Restrict sucking the thumb and dummies

7 – 10

1. Tongue crib for persistent tongue sucking

2. Speech therapy for tongue thrusting

3. examination by a dentist to check if adult teeth will form an open bite

11 – 17

1. Braces for open bite

2. Treatment for tongue thrusting

3. Jaw surgery

18 and above

1. Braces or Invisalign treatment

2. Surgery

3. Tongue thrusting treatment

4. Veneers for open bite

Open bite braces

Correcting open bite with a brace is a common dental procedure. Braces help to pull the teeth back into proper alignment if they are protruding forward. Treatment with braces can last for six months to two years, and you will need retainers to preserve your teeth in their new position.

Treatment for tongue thrusting

If your open bite results from tongue thrusting, you will need to address the tongue thrusting first. The common treatments for tongue thrusting include:

  • Tongue therapy
  • Tongue crib
  • Exercises for the tongue

A tongue crib or cradle is an appliance that looks like a retainer. The dentist will attach it to the molars, and it serves as a barrier across the mouth, preventing the tongue from pushing forward. A speech therapist offers speech exercises and therapy. Your GP may refer you to a doctor who specialises in speech therapy.

Ceasing the habit of tongue thrusting does not correct the alignment problem, it only prevents the problem from getting worse.

Case 5 Befor Case 5 After
Case 6 Befor Case 6 After

Can I correct open bite with Invisalign?

Yes, you can. Open bite is one of the types of malocclusion that Invisalign can correct. Invisalign treatment uses a series of clear aligners that you have to switch out every two weeks until the teeth are in their perfect position.

The NHS does not cover an open bite treatment with Invisalign, only metal braces. If you opt for Invisalign, you would have to pay privately for it.

Invisalign aligners can effectively correct about 90% of orthodontic problems. If you need treatment with Invisalign, you have to take the Invisalign Smile Assessment or have your dentist examine your teeth, then discuss your treatment plan.

Can veneers fix an open bite?

If the open bite is a minor one, fixing it with veneers is possible. A veneer is a thin tooth ceramic or composite covering. To fit dental veneers, the dentist will remove a small amount of the enamel from the tooth.

Veneers do not fix the problem that causes the underbite. It only masks the problem. Some downsides of veneers include:

  • Your teeth may look more prominent because the veneers have to be longer to cover the open bite
  • Further issues may arise because of the extra force the teeth exert
  • You may not be able to use braces or have jaw surgery in the future because brackets do not stick properly to veneers
  • Veneers do not fix underlying issues like tongue thrusting or increased wear on the back teeth

Discuss open bite treatment with veneers with your dentist first because there are several things you need to consider. Although for a small open bite, that does not cause problems like speech impediments, veneers may come in handy.

Open bite surgery

You may need surgery depending on the severity of the open bite. Adults are likely to need surgery because their bones are fused and difficult to move.

Open bite surgery for people below the age of 18 is free on the NHS. Adults can get open bite surgery on the NHS if there is a medical need for it. An open bite can cause severe problems, so check on the NHS if your condition is eligible for treatment. An open bite surgery in private dental practice may cost between £2000 - £6000.

You may need to wear retainers for about a year before the surgery and six months after the surgery. You will not have scars after the surgery because your dentist will make all the incisions inside your mouth, but you may have to take only liquid foods for a few days after your surgery.  You may also experience swelling for some days after your surgery.

Risks of open bite surgery

Every surgery has its risks, but with open bite surgery, the risks are few. The procedure is a common one where doctors use computer modelling to map out all the areas that need adjustments. The surgery involves your dentist breaking your jawbones and plates, then inserting screws in the mouth. Although this sounds scary, the benefits of having an open bite surgery are numerous.

Conclusion

Open bite is easy to notice, especially when the child is young. Taking corrective steps at a young age, such as wearing tongue crib or any other orthodontic work increases the probability of successful treatment.

Children can get free open bite treatment on the NHS because the conditions can cause difficulty with eating and talking. Some adults are eligible for open bite treatment on the NHS depending on the severity of their case. If you do not qualify for treatment on the NHS, you can opt for private treatment. This means that you can use Invisalign clear aligners to correct your open bite discreetly.

Contact Museum Dental Suites today on 0207 183 0886 to book an appointment for your private open bite treatment.

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RECENT GOOGLE REVIEWS

Highly recommend Museum Dental Suite. Their work is of the highest calibre, professional and friendly. I'm very thankful they for excellent aftercare advice and for making me relaxed and so well treated. I've recommended them to both my family and friends.

I have been undertaking a cosmetic treatment (Invisalign) for around eight months here, off the back of a recommendation of a friend who had the same treatment. The professionalism and perfectionism with which my treatment was delivered was outstanding, as was the general service and were all of the staff I encountered.

My dentist Dr. Wahab Shakir was particularly great, with a friendly, reassuring manner and an eye for detail. He always went above and beyond, without ever being asked.

I'm now almost at the end of my treatment and couldn't be more pleased with how treatment has gone. Given the service and end result I'd also consider it excellent value for money.

Keep up the good work Museum Dental Suites!

Firstly what a great dentist, all the staff were friendly and very helpful as this was my first time here.

I had called for an emergency appointment due to a sudden cracked tooth and Dr Wahab Shakir despite the end of day fast approaching (30 minutes till close) he said he would see me.

The treatment was not straight forward due to the crack but Dr Shakir after a lengthy time managed to save the tooth/restore it and prevent what I believe most dentists would have done which install a crown - Thank you!

Highly recommend this dentist and service and I am grateful for not only seeing me within an hour but also staying passed closing time and finally for doing a Stella job.

This is a top notch dentist who makes you feel at ease which for someone liked me is important. The staff are very professional, polite, courteous and friendly. Marios, my dentist is extremely patient and cares about your dental care and the service you receive. Just received my new dentures and they have been done to a very high standard and am very pleased. I have nothing but praise for the staff and the treatment/service I received.

Best dentist ever hands down. Least painful and least scary experiences here (I'm usually really scared of going to the dentist, and even find the initial anaesthetic injection painful) - they really care about the patient, and making sure you're comfortable, results are also fab. Seriously can't imagine a better dentist!

After lots of research I was very happy with the results and the service at Museum Dental. 100% I would recommend to a friend. I couldn't be more pleased.

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