All About the Open Bite Invisalign Treatment

Is the open bite Invisalign treatment right for you?

In this article we are going to discuss everything to do with open bite: What it is, what causes it, and most importantly how it can be treated with clear Invisalign aligners.

If your upper and lower teeth don’t meet in the middle when you bite down, you have an open bite. Dentists recognise four different types of open bites, so whether it is only the teeth at the front or the back of your mouth that are not meeting properly, or a larger issue such as malocclusion caused by a growth or tumor in your jaw, there are orthodontic treatment options that can and will resolve the issue.

There are plenty of reasons why you should look into ways to correct your open bite, even if your case is not particularly severe, because not only can a straighter smile make you feel more confident and attractive, it can also prevent the unpleasant knock-on effects that an open bite tends to bring along in its wake. These knock-on effects range in severity and can include speech problems, tooth decay and jaw pain.

Open bite can be one of the more challenging and drawn-out orthodontic treatments, but whether it will take three months or eighteen to correct your open bite very much depends on the severity of your case of malocclusion, as well as the treatment option you choose.

So, without further ado, let us dive right in.

Open bite: What it is 

What is open bite? The answer is found in the name – open bite. Open bute is a dental condition where your upper and lower teeth don’t touch when you close your mouth. Hence your bite is always open and never fully closed.

However, it is not quite that simple. Did you know that open bite is an umbrella term rather than a descriptor for one specific dental malocclusion issue? Dental professionals divide open bite conditions into four categories. Let us walk through what each of them describes.

Anterior open bite

Anterior open bite is when the incisors in the upper and a lower jaw refuse to meet and the bite is therefore never fully ‘complete’ when you bite down.

While an anterior open bite can look rather minor as it only affects the front teeth, it is important to keep in mind that the front teeth are what we use to tear and bite into food, and so an anterior open bite, even a rather mild case of it, can be very damaging to patients if they do not seek treatment for their bite problems.

Posterior open bite

A posterior open bite is best described as the inverse of an anterior open bite. Rather than affecting the from teeth, a posterior open bite affects the back teeth, meaning that the molars and premolars at the back of the mouth are not touching each other when you bite down.

As is the case with anterior open bite malocclusion, those with posterior open bite might experience trouble chewing food properly and should seek orthodontic treatment to correct the issue.

Dental open bite

Dental open bite only occurs as a result of impediment of tooth disruption. Tooth disruption is when a new tooth pushes past the jaw bone and the gum in order to break through and appear in the dental arch. 

While a dental open bite cannot be prevented, it can at least be treated.

Skeletal open bite

Finally, skeletal open bite is associated with an abnormal growth of the face, such as the presence of tumors or genetic conditions causing irregular development of the jawbone’s two molars. 

Again, skeletal open bite cannot be prevented from happening in the first place, but it can be treated once the damage is done.

Open bite: Causes and effects

Open bite is usually caused by a combination of different and sometimes overlapping factors. As already hinted at, this can include genetic factors, which are obviously beyond your control, but also behavioural factors, which are under your control, at least to an extend. 

Genetic factors

We have already largely covered the genetic factors that can cause an open bite, but let us get a little more specific.

Genetic factors which can include irregular development and growth of the two molars in the jaw, or conditions causing tumors or growths in the jaw can lead to either dental or skeletal open bite.

Behavioral factors

Many would’t think that seemingly harmless habits like thumb sucking and tongue thrusting can cause serious issues, but the reality is that they can. The small, repetitive mouth movements involved in sucking your thumb or thrusting your tongue repeatedly against the back of your upper or lower teeth can add up over time and eventually cause an open bite condition. 

Another factor that may play into you ending up with an open bite is having missing teeth, for example after having teeth extracted by a dentist, as having teeth removed leaves your other teeth to shift and move positions in your mouth.

Open bite health concerns

Not only can open bites be unpleasant in and of themselves, as they cause difficulty speaking and chewing properly, and may also be cosmetically jarring to look at. Over time, open bites can also cause a number of additional health issues.

One common knock-on effect of open bites is temporomandibular joint disorder, a condition associated with chronic facial pain. In other words, the 

The necessity of correcting an open bite

Whether your case of open bite is mild, moderate or severe, you should start looking into orthodontic treatment options right away. 

True, it is not strictly necessary to correct an open bite immediately – open bites are not medical emergencies. With that being said, it is in your best interest to get your teeth straightened sooner rather than later as this is how you prevent the condition from getting any worse with age.

Let us say that you have a tongue thrusting habit that you are not likely to abandon any time soon. Over time, you will have slowly pushed your front teeth further and further out, thus worsening the condition and raising the risk of speech and chewing problems, as well as jaw pain and other health problems. Or, if your open bite is caused by excessive spacing between your teeth in the wake of a tooth extraction, this also is only likely to worsen as time rolls on.

Open bite treatment options

No two open bite conditions are exactly the same, and so it follows that there are numerous different ways to treat the condition. 

Which open bite treatment option is going to be the right option for you is going to depend on your budget, your treatment preferences and desired treatment timeframe.

For severe cases of open bite, traditional metal braces are still the recommended treatment option, as the metal brackets and wires are able to slowly pull your teeth into their correct positions over a period of time typically lasting anywhere from six to eighteen months.

For mild to moderate cases of open bite, Invisalign clear aligners are the most attractive treatment option. Invisalign braces are almost completely invisible and offer a truly discreet way of straightening your teeth without anyone noticing.

Finally, for truly mild cases of open bite, myofunctional therapy (a form of physiotherapy targeting the muscles of the face and jaw via exercises) might be enough to prevent open bites from developing. In other cases, veneers on the front teeth might suffice in treating mild cases of anterior open bites.

The open bite Invisalign treatment

Invisalign offers a truly unique and completely individualised approach to treating open bites and is often a more attractive option than using braces. Unless your case of open bite is extreme, you can expect the same robust result from Invisalign as you can from traditional braces.

If you are interested in going the Invisalign route for your open bite treatment, the first step to take is to find an Invisalign dentist or orthodontist practicing near you, and to set up an appointment with them. At the initial appointment, your Invisalign doctor is going to carefully access your teeth to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for Invisalign treatment. In case you are not, they will recommend traditional braces instead.

Presuming that you are a suitable candidate for treatment, you and your dentist will then agree on a treatment plan, including a payment plan (You may be able to arrange instalment payments or get your treatment covered by insurance).

The Invisalign treatment for open bite happens in the same way as Invisalign treatment for other dental malocclusion issues: You will get sent a number of clear aligners, each of which is to be worn for two weeks at a time. Your treatment may take between three and eighteen months, depending on how mild or severe your open bite is. Throughout your treatment, and even after it, your Invisalign dentist is going to check up on progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment as you go along. 

At the end of your treatment, you will have a much straighter smile, not to mention, you will be able to chew and speak properly. Little luxuries so many of us tend to take for granted, and which can be instrumental in improving overall life quality.

Open bite Invisalign FAQ

Can Invisalign correct an open bite?

Yes, in most cases Invisalign clear aligners are able to correct open bite issues. 

When you make an appointment with an Invisalign doctor, they will carefully examine your teeth to determine whether you are a good candidate for Invisalign treatment. Provided that your open bite is not too severe, you you will be able to proceed with Invisalign clear aligners, but in cases where the open bite is too severe for clear aligners to handle the issue, the dentist will recommend traditional metal braces instead.

How long does it take to fix open bite with Invisalign?

Open bite is one of the more demanding and time-consuming teeth straightening treatment, so depending on the severity of your open bite issue, you should expect your Invisalign treatment for open bite to take up to 18 months. 

In some cases, if your case of overbite is minimal, it can be corrected in as little as three months. Another way of putting it would be to say that the timeframe for your treatment completely depends on the severity of your open bite issue. Only a trained Invisalign dentist or orthodontist will be able to give you a clear answer after examining your teeth.

How much is Invisalign for an open bite?

Open bite is a challenging teeth misalignment issue to correct, and depending on how much your teeth will need to be shifted, fixing an open bite with Invisalign clear aligners can cost anywhere between $2,650 to $9,000.

Is open bite genetic?

There are many different factors that may contribute to open bite, and some of them may be genetic.

Other factors include missing teeth and habitual behaviours such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. Repeated over time, the motion caused by these minor habits can push teeth forward and slowly develop an open bite condition.

Does an open bite need to be fixed?

Open bite issues can vary tremendously, from very mild and barely noticeable to extremely severe, but regardless of where your open bit fits on the sliding scale, you should consider getting your open bite fixed. Here are a few good reasons:

– Open bite can make your smile look less attractive

– Open bute can cause a number of unpleasant problems including jaw pain, gum disease and speech impediments 

– Open bite malocclusion tends to worsen over time, so even if you are not experiencing any adverse effects as a result of having an open bite now, there is a good chance that you will in the future (At which point getting your now more severe open bite fixed is likely to be a more costly and prolonged process)

Final thoughts

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what has caused your open bite condition, so if you have been guilty or tongue thrusting or thumb sucking, you can stop blaming yourself for behavior you cannot now take back. The important thing is that open bites can be fixed, and that Invisalign providers are often happy to accept patients with open bites for treatment.

Invisalign offers a safe, reliable and discreet way for patients with open bites to get their teeth straightened, their smiles perfected and the future of their oral health insured against the unpleasant health problems that often arise as a result of open bite and can include jaw pain, speech impediments, dental decay and malnutrition. 

Some open bite cases may be too severe for Invisalign clear aligners to handle, in which case Invisalign may recommend traditional metal brackets instead.

Even if your particular case of open bite is mild, you should still seek teeth straightening therapy to fix it. Truly, if you manage to correct an open bite before it gets worse and starts causing you painful and potentially expensive health issues, you definitely should.

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