A malocclusion, or misalignment of the jaws, can seriously detract from an otherwise appealing smile. In younger patients, this condition is often corrected solely through orthodontic treatment before the jaw’s growth is complete.
For adult patients, in whom the jaw is fully formed, an open bite requires a more intensive intervention. Fortunately, patients in this situation can opt for oral surgery to fix the problem.
In particular, an open bite is a good target for an oral surgeon.
An open bite occurs when the teeth at the front of the upper and lower arches do not meet when the jaws are closed. Not only is an open bite unattractive, it can compromise nutrition and lead to painful temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Sometimes, an open bite occurs as the result of a lengthy thumb-sucking habit during childhood. Genetic factors can also produce an open bite.
In correcting this problem, the oral surgeon repositions the jaw to improve its fit. This may involve removing excess jawbone material in either arch, allowing the upper and lower jaws to meet.
Patients undergoing a surgical procedure to correct an open bite typically are treated in a specialty surgical center or hospital. General anesthesia will be used for most patients undergoing such extensive surgery.
Depending on the specifics of your case, additional appliances may be placed during the surgery to hold the jaw in places as it heals. The surgeon may insert plates or screws into the jaw, or it may need to be wired shut for several weeks after the procedure. In those cases, the oral surgeon helps the patient to prepare in advance for a few weeks of a wired-shut jaw.
Corrective jaw surgery is often planned in conjunction with simultaneous orthodontic treatment, and if that is true in your case, your oral surgeon will work closely with the orthodontist to achieve your smile goals.
There are many compelling reasons for patients to address an open bite. Talk to our oral surgeons serving Dallas TX to learn more about your options for the procedure.