Malocclusion, or misaligned teeth, is a common dental condition that affects almost everyone. Perfect teeth without any kind of malocclusion are exceedingly rare. Most people must rely on some form of orthodontic treatment to correct their malocclusion, whether it be an overbite, open bite, crooked teeth, or dental crowding

Malocclusion vs. Normal Occlusion
What Is The Best Dental Treatment for An Open Bite - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA

Reasons for an open bite

While malocclusion is common, an open bite is not. In fact, only 0.6% of people in the United States suffer from the condition. An open bite can be caused by a number of reasons, including genetic and skeletal issues and poor oral habits.

Unfortunately, for those who do have open bite malocclusion, common activities such as chewing or speaking can be hindered. Furthermore, an open bite can also hinder a person’s look and smile, adversely affecting their self-perception and self-esteem.

“Open bite is often an avoidable condition. Many cases of open bite develop as a result of a tongue thrusting habit, thumb sucking, and in some cases are the result of a temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder. As with many dental conditions and diseases, the best time to treat an open bite is early.”

— DR. REZA KHAZAIE, DDS, PROSTHODONTIST

What is the best treatment for an open bite?

The best and most common treatment for an open bite is an orthodontic approach. Braces can help balance a bite by pushing and pulling teeth into their proper position.

What Is The Best Dental Treatment for An Open Bite - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA
What Is The Best Dental Treatment for An Open Bite - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA

In severe cases or during circumstances in which all other orthodontic treatments have failed, some patients may turn to corrective jaw surgery. During corrective jaw surgery, the upper jaw is typically repositioned to correct any alignment and bite issues. The jaw is then permanently secured in place with metal screws and plates. Corrective jaw surgery is typically the last resort for adult patients with severe open bite.

One of the difficulties of treating open bite compared with other forms of malocclusion is the physiological component. Many patients with open bites, to compensate, develop a tongue-thrusting habit in which they push their tongues through their teeth in an effort to plug the gap. While functionally effective in the short term, tongue thrusting can do great harm and further increase the size and severity of the open bite. Part of treating an open bite in a patient is also addressing the habit of tongue thrusting or other forms of compensation that have developed as a result of their open bite.

When should I worry about an open bite?

An open bite is often an avoidable condition. Many cases of open bite develop as a result of a tongue thrusting habit, thumb sucking, and in some cases are the result of a temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder. As with many dental conditions and diseases, the best time to treat an open bite is early. When an open bite has developed, early treatment is key. When a patient has reached adulthood, open bite treatment becomes much more difficult since the jawbones have hardened significantly

What Is The Best Dental Treatment for An Open Bite - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA

When it comes to young children, behavioral corrections, such as discouraging thumbsucking, are critical. Young children with open bites, however, may not always need orthodontic treatment for their conditions. In many cases, young children will outgrow their open bite when their adult teeth erupt.

Of course, to ensure that their permanent teeth grow in properly and without issue, it is wise to take your children to an orthodontist for regular visits and monitoring of their dental development. Issues can then be quickly identified and corrected before they get out of hand.

Can Invisalign fix open bite?

Invisalign at Willow Pass Dental Care, Concord, CA

Yes, Invisalign can be an effective treatment option for correcting an open bite in many cases.

Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners that gradually shift your teeth into the desired position. The aligners are custom-made to your specific needs based on a precise treatment plan developed by your dentist.

Here’s how Invisalign can play a role in fixing an open bite:

  • Customized treatment planning: Your provider will create a detailed treatment plan using 3D imaging technology to map out the precise movements needed to close the open bite and align your teeth properly.
  • Gradual tooth movement: Each set of aligners is worn for about 1-2 weeks before moving on to the next set. The aligners apply gentle, controlled force to slowly move your teeth into the correct position, closing the open bite over time.
  • Elastics or attachments: In some cases, your provider may recommend the use of elastics (rubber bands) or tooth-colored attachments to help achieve the desired tooth movements and close the open bite more efficiently.
  • Monitoring and adjustments: You’ll have regular check-ins with your provider to ensure your treatment progresses as planned. They may make adjustments to your treatment plan as needed to achieve the best results.

The length of treatment varies depending on the severity of your open bite and your individual needs. In general, Invisalign treatment for an open bite can take anywhere from several months to a couple of years.

It’s important to note that while Invisalign can be effective for many open bite cases, some severe or complex cases may require traditional braces or other orthodontic treatments. Your dentist can evaluate your specific situation and recommend the most appropriate treatment option.

Invisalign open bite: Preventing a posterior open bite from Invisalign

Invisalign at Willow Pass Dental Care, Concord, CA

Posterior open bite is a potential side effect that can occur during Invisalign treatment if not managed properly. It happens when the back teeth (molars) don’t touch when biting down, while the front teeth do. Here are some ways to prevent or manage posterior open bite during Invisalign treatment:

  1. Accurate attachments and bite ramps: Your dentist can place attachments (small, tooth-colored bumps) on your teeth to help the aligners grip and move the teeth more effectively. They may also add bite ramps to the aligners to help prevent the back teeth from touching, which can cause intrusion and lead to posterior open bite.
  2. Wear aligners as prescribed: It’s crucial to wear your aligners for the recommended 20-22 hours per day to ensure consistent pressure is applied to your teeth. Not wearing the aligners enough can lead to uneven tooth movement and potential bite issues.
  3. Interdisciplinary Approach: In complex cases, collaboration with other dental specialists, such as oral surgeons or prosthodontists, may be necessary to ensure optimal outcomes.
  4. Use Invisalign chewies 1: Chewies are small, cylindrical cushions that you can bite down on to help seat the aligners properly and maintain even pressure on your teeth. This can help prevent uneven tooth movement that may contribute to posterior open bite.
  5. Regular check-ups: Attend all scheduled appointments with your orthodontist so they can monitor your progress, make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan, and address any issues that may arise. Your dentist may recommend a retention phase to maintain results and prevent relapse. This phase typically involves wearing retainers as prescribed.
  6. Proper aligner maintenance: Clean your aligners regularly and handle them carefully to avoid damaging or warping them, which could affect how they fit and apply pressure to your teeth.
  7. Address any issues promptly: If you notice any discomfort, ill-fitting aligners, or changes in your bite, contact your orthodontist right away. They can assess the situation and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan to prevent or correct posterior open bite. You should keep open communication with your dentist throughout the treatment process.

Your dentist will carefully plan and monitor your Invisalign treatment to minimize the risk of developing a posterior open bite. If the issue does occur, they can use various techniques, such as adding buttons and elastics or adjusting the aligners, to correct it and get your treatment back on track.

Invisalign Chewies - Open Bite - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA

Chewies (see Item #4 for explanation)