What is an anterior open bite?
Anterior open bite is a medical condition characterized by a lack of overlap of incisors at the front. The posterior teeth do touch when the person bites down but the incisors do not touch. This malocclusion problem leads to an impairment of articulation. The condition can be a hereditary trait or be acquired during the lifetime of an individual. It may be caused by things that cause the tooth position to be altered. A change in between maxilla and mandible might also be a cause. The most common anterior open bite causes of it include the following:
- Thumb sucking in the early years when the gum tissue is still developing.
- Long-term use of pacifiers in infanthood can result in anterior open bite
- The positioning of the tongue, particularly in airway disorders.
- Degenerative joint disease
- The mandibular plane angle is steep
- Ankyloses resulting in an abnormal eruption
- Using segment bite planes excessively.
These causes are broadly divided into skeletal, dental, soft tissue, and habitual causes.
- Skeletal causes: in most cases, the maxilla has excessive vertical growth. If the mandible has posterior growth rotation, it may also result in an anterior overbite. Other skeletal causes include short mandibular ramus, obtuse gonial angle, or an increase in lower face height. A bilateral condylar fracture may also cause an anterior open bite. Such a fracture is characterized by a limited mouth opening movement. The mandibular movement is restricted and an anterior open bite can be the result.
- Dental causes: typically, the incisor eruption is hindered and the posterior teeth erupt excessively.
- Soft tissue abnormality: medical conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy can cause an anterior open bite. In such cases, tonic muscle activity decreases. This results in the drop-down of the mandible.
- Habitual causes: individuals that have the habit of mouth breathing, thumb sucking, or tongue thrusting, can develop the condition.
Using a leaf gauge to measure the size of the opening in an anterior open bite
A leaf gauge is a device that contains several leaves of the same dimension. These are approximately 0.1mm thick. To use this device, the dentist holds an “X” number of leaves at the midline of the oral cavity. The leaves rest on top of the maxillary central incisor teeth. The patient is asked to close the jaw until they touch the leaves with their lower incisors. The number “X” is the number of leaves places in the gap between the incisors where the posterior teeth are just in contact. Additional leave is added to the X number of leaves. Now the posterior teeth will not be touching. After a while of holding the jaw closed, the posterior teeth will touch again. The orthodontist uses this tool to diagnose the problem. If an open bite is identified, you can be recommended one of the following treatments.
Methods of anterior open bite correction
Using medically recommended dental tools
There are a number of tools that can resolve mild cases of anterior open bites. A high pull headgear is a device used together with braces. This is meant to improve the alignment of teeth and allow for normal growth. Anterior open bite Invisalign treatment involves the use of Invisalign aligners that help align teeth. A vertical chin cup is an appliance that manages the growth of the lower face region. It prevents the lower face bone from growing downwards or backward.
Invisalign aligners are an effective anterior open bite treatment for adults unless the condition is severe. A 3D impression of the teeth will determine whether invisalign treatment is enough to treat your condition. Invisalign aligners do not involve any wires, unlike traditional aligners. These are made of clear plastic. The aligner gradually pushes the teeth bath into their normal position. Invisalign is effective for both crossbites and overbites. Minor overbites can be treated within three months. More severe conditions can require up to 18 months. This is a very effective treatment of anterior open bites because they are highly personalized treatment methods. The most significant benefit is that they are not noticeable at all, unlike traditional braces.
This treatment involves the reshaping of the teeth to alter posterior occlusion. In this way, the anterior teeth come together. This is effective only when the overbite is minor. In other cases, this treatment cannot bring the necessary amount of closure. A trial equilibrium is conducted on a model prior to the application of the procedure. This is meant to see whether the procedure can bring about the necessary closure.
Restorations used on mandibular or maxillary anterior teeth can also help. This method can bring out sufficient posterior reduction to make the anterior teeth touch.
Orthognathic, or anterior open bite surgery, is the procedure of surgically aligning the upper and lower jaws. In this procedure, general anesthesia is given to the patient. The oral surgeon then removes part of the lower and upper jaw bone so that the mandible and maxilla are aligned. This anterior open bite treatment is usually only required in serious conditions when other treatments cannot offer a solution. The patient’s recovery rate varies between individuals. After the procedure, your surgeon might use wires or screws to keep the jaws in place. After undergoing surgery, patients are recommended to keep a soft food diet. Follow-up appointments are necessary to keep up with the progress.
In conclusion, an anterior open bite can result from both genetic and environmental factors. In the early stages of an open bite, the treatment is simple. In severe occlusion, however, one may even need jaw surgery. Your orthodontist will conduct an oral exam prior to deciding which treatment is needed. In the early ages, anterior open bites caused by habits can be corrected simply by changing habits. Orthodontic tools like a high pull headgear or vertical chin cup can help. Consult your orthodontist before you take any measures.