Living with an open bite can be frustrating, embarrassing, and painful. You might feel frustrated when you see a picture that shows your the space between your teeth or when the pressure on your back teeth and joint caused by an open bite easily develops into a TMJ disorder. While some specialists (physical therapists and TMJ dentists) can help relieve your pain, a more permanent solution is necessary in order to fix your bite and eliminate your pain. This treatment option includes both orthodontics and oral surgery.
Why Are Both Orthodontics and Oral Surgery Necessary?
Your first thought might be that braces will fix your bite and surgery is unnecessary. However, your orthodontist will tell you that braces will straighten you teeth and bring them together – temporarily. Without the added benefits of oral surgery, your bite will revert in a few short years. And braces might help relieve tension and pain in your jaw joint, but if you have slipped a disk or misaligned the joint in any way, orthodontics alone won't repair the damage.
Oral surgery, performed at centers like Oral And Maxillofacial Surgical Associates, is combined with orthodontic care for the best results. You will be expected to wear braces (either traditional braces or Invisalign work) for at least 18 months before having your surgery. This will ensure that your teeth are in proper alignment and will stay that way following the procedure. During the surgery, your jaw bone is cut and repositioned. Then screws and plates are used to maintain placement. This relieves pressure from the joint and helps ensure that your jaw won't revert to the open bite. If necessary, prosthetics might be placed in your joint to repair damage done to the ball and socket of your jaw. This is not common unless you have had an open bite and TMJ for an extended period of time – such as 15 or 20 years.
When surgery is completed, you aren't quite done with your treatment. Your braces must be worn for another 3-6 months while your mouth heals in its new position. After that point, however, you should be fully recovered and ready to remove your braces.
You might be surprised at the time commitment required to fix an open bite. However, to prevent early reversion of your jaw bones, surgery coupled with braces is your best option. When the procedures are complete, you will be free of frustration, embarrassment, and pain.