What is an open bite? An open bite occurs when the front teeth both upper and lower ones are forced outwards.
Depending on the angle and complexity of each case, this position can affect in such a way that the lower and upper jaw do not touch even when the mouth is completely closed. This position of teeth will not only affect the looks of the patient, it can also lead to eating and speech problems.
The good news is, open bites can be prevented since the problem is essentially caused by how the patient puts strain and pressure on front teeth thus affecting their natural alignment. Practices that should be avoided in order to ensure a proper alignment of teeth are: thumb sucking, chewing on objects and tongue thrusting.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) sufferers are also likely to develop open bites since they tend to use the tongue to push teeth apart when they are feeling pain.
It is possible to correct and open bite with orthodontic treatment, however there is a chance that the correction might not be permanent since the tongue will go back to its conditioned movements and might once again push teeth outwards. The duration of the treatment will also depend on the severity of the case.
Since most of the practices that can lead to an open bite occur during infancy, it is viable to focus on prevention. Yes, all children suck their thumb and have received a pacifier, and it is perfectly normal. What might lead to open bites years down the road is the dependence on the pacifier and the action of thumb-sucking carried over an extended period of time.
Although children naturally grow out of these practices by the age of 2-4, there are cases wherein children will still resource to these practices when they feel stressed or afraid.
For further information on how to gently and lovingly encourage your child to stop thumb-sucking read our article:
By: Prisma Dental
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