When a person has an open bite, the upper and lower front teeth do not come together when the mouth is closed. The result is a gap or opening between the rows of teeth when a person closes the jaw. An open bite not only affects the appearance of a person's smile but can also cause difficulty in speaking, leading to a lisp or another type of speech impediment.
A patient’s habits, usually formed since childhood, probably contribute to open bite. These habits include-but are not limited to thumb-sucking and tongue-thrusting. But it may occur because of a skeletal problem.
Options Available To Treat Open Bite
Treating an open bite can be more challenging than treating other types of misaligned teeth. Sometimes, nature and the body will naturally correct the problem over time. If it occurs in children with a mix of baby and permanent teeth, it can sometimes resolve on its own as more permanent teeth erupt.
However, if the malocclusion is caused by a skeletal problem, such as a jawbone that doesn't fit together quite right, orthognathic surgery might be needed. During the surgery, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will remove a portion of the upper jaw and will realign the jaw bones, so that the teeth better align. There are many orthodontic devices that can help correct an opening in the bite. In some cases, a dental appliance can keep the tongue from pushing its way between the teeth, which can be helpful. Special headgear can also help position the jaw and correct the bite.
What Happens If Open Bite Is Not Corrected?
There are consequences to not correcting a dental problem and open bite is no exception. The most obvious is a aesthetic --your appearance and confidence due to it. But, problems persist beyond your possible loss of confidence. Often, people with an open bite develop a lisp which not only hinders speech, but also the effectiveness of what you’re saying. Speech therapy might be necessary but still be ineffective because of the open bite problem.
Next, having a stable bite is essential to be able to bite and chew food properly. With an open bite, drinks and food can seep out if the tongue isn’t used to keep it sealed.
Also, the back teeth can wear out due to constant friction as the back teeth come on top of each other more often. This wear and tear can ultimately lead to painful chewing and other costly dental conditions not to mention jaw and possible neck pain.
Ask Us at Forest&Ray
If an open bite problem exists, the treatment that will best help you depends on a few factors. Usually, surgery is only recommended to patients who have finished growing. Orthodontic options are usually reserved for children or teens. If you are concerned about the gap between your top and bottom front teeth, your best option is to discuss the issue with the dental experts at Forest&Ray. We can determine which treatment is best for you.