The world of orthodontics is full of common issues and conditions – but it’s also full of efficient solutions! Malocclusions aren’t rare, and they can cause many issues for patients that have them. At Chamberlain Family Orthodontics, however, open bite correction is one of our specialties, and we’re here to explain how clear aligners can help give you or your child the smile of their dreams.
What is an open bite?
This type of dental malocclusion occurs when the upper and lower front teeth do not touch when the mouth is closed. At Chamberlain Family Orthodontics, we believe that understanding the nature of this orthodontic condition is the first step toward effective treatment. By recognizing the signs of an open bite in your child and knowing the impact this condition really has, you can take proactive steps towards helping your child get the smile they deserve.
Open bites create a visible gap or opening that can cause issues for patients, including:
- Difficulty Chewing: Because the teeth don’t touch, patients with this condition may have trouble chewing food properly.
- Speech Issues: Certain sounds can only be made when the tongue correctly meets the roof of the mouth. An open bite can disrupt this speech pattern, making it harder to pronounce words containing the letters “s” and “z.”
- Aesthetic Issues: Open bites can alter the appearance of a patient’s smile. The space between the top and bottom teeth or flaring may be noticeable, affecting a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
Like many other orthodontic conditions, open bites may be caused by many different factors, including:
- Early childhood habits: Prolonged thumb sucking, pacifier use, or bottle feeding in childhood can exert pressure on the teeth, leading to excess space between the top and bottom teeth.
- Tongue thrusting: Anterior tongue posturing is a condition in which the tongue pushes against the front teeth during swallowing or speech. Over time, this constant pressure can push the teeth outwards, leading to an open bite.
- Genetics: Sometimes, the jaws are genetically predisposed to grow divergently apart rather than parallel to one another, leading to a skeletal open bite.
- Condylar resorption: This temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is characterized by the progressive breakdown of the condyle, or hinging joint of the jaw, which can lead to a sudden open bite.
It’s important to note that the exact cause can vary from person to person, and it’s often a combination of several factors. If you suspect you or your child has an open bite, it’s best to consult with a board-certified orthodontist like Dr. Chamberlain for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Correcting an Open Bite with Clear Aligners
Clear aligners have made significant advancements over the years, making it possible to correct many orthodontic issues, including open bites. The process involves a series of custom-made aligners personalized for your child’s unique smile to shift their teeth into the correct positions gradually.
To correct this type of malocclusion, Dr. Chamberlain uses the following techniques when creating the digital smile design:
- Extrusion of anterior teeth: The aligners are designed to shift the upper anterior teeth downward and the lower anterior teeth upward toward each other, helping to close the gap between the upper and lower front teeth.
- Intrusion of posterior teeth: The aligners can also be programmed to intrude the posterior teeth toward the gum line. This reduces the “wedge effect,” which leads to lower jaw rotation that decreases the vertical space between the upper and lower front teeth.
- Use of rubber bands: Rubber bands may be used alongside clear aligners to induce a counterclockwise lower jaw rotation, helping to correct the open bite.
- Interproximal reduction (IPR): Dr. Chamberlain may recommend interproximal reduction if the teeth vary in size and shape. This process involves removing minimal amounts of enamel from between the teeth to create more space to retract the anterior teeth and increase the vertical overlapping.
Depending on the patient’s age and the severity of the open bite, the treatment time for correcting this condition with clear aligners may vary. On average, it can take anywhere from 18 to 30 months. Surgery may be recommended in conjunction with clear aligner therapy in more complex cases, but this is usually only necessary for very severe open bites. As always, it’s best to consult with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Chamberlain to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs.
Take the First Step Toward a Confident Smile
Understanding the nature and impact of an open bite is the first step towards a healthier, more confident smile with clear aligners. At Chamberlain Family Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing personalized, effective treatment plans for all our patients, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way.
Don’t let an open bite stand in the way of the confidence-filled smile you deserve! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation in Redlands or Beaumont.