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  1. #1

    Open bite after braces...what now?

    Hi everyone, my name is Matt and I'm looking for some advice with my annoying mouth problems...

    So here it goes...I got braces when I was in about 8th grade, then got them off about two years later in 10th grade. My teeth were not really crooked before the braces, but the doctor wanted to fix my overbite. He did this by having 2 of my side front teeth (not sure exactly which ones) extracted on the top, and then slid back the rest of my top front teeth with the braces. As of now, I have worn my retainer every day since, and my teeth are straight as can be (my dentist always tells me that when I go in for a cleaning...)

    Here's the problem, though: after getting my braces off, I started to develop some pretty bad Tmj problems. My jaw popped and cracked and hurt like hell! For the longest time I just dealt with it, until about a year ago when I finally decided that enough was enough and I went to see a specialist dentist, who gave me a bite plate to wear at night with the hopes that my Tmj is due to nighttime clenching (however, the dentist did note that there were not really signs of excess wear on my teeth...so I'm not really sure I was/is a nighttime clencher).

    Now the kicker: my teeth are straight, but I was told a year of two back that I have an open bite. I'm not sure exactly when this developed, as I can't really remember, but I think it may have been there when my braces came off...again, I'm not entirely sure. So here I am, only one pair of teeth on either side of my mouth touch, and every time I bit down to chew I can feel the excess pressure being exerted in that area. At this point, after wearing the bite plate for 1/2-3/4 of a year with only minimal relief in the Tmj, I am starting to think it is my open bite that is causing my Tmj problems. Again, I was not born with an open bite, and never had one as a child, it only developed after having braces. (I have also had my upper wisdom teeth extracted, didn't have bottom ones).

    So I guess my question is, if I was going to fix this, would braces be the solution or would some sort of jaw surgery be a better option given that I have already had braces and my teeth are already straight? Of course, the insurance will not help pay for braces again, but I guess I would rather solve the problem than worry about money...especially since a CAT scan has already showed developing osteoarthritis in my Tmj (and I'm only 19 years old...sheesh).

    Sorry for the ridiculously long and depressing story. Any help/advice would be much appreciated!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Blog Entries
    Matt your situation sounds quite horrible!

    You need to go and talk to a few orthodontist's and seek advice. I need to add that if you are developing osteoarthritis in your jaw joint(s), there's probably nothing that can be done to your teeth that will help this. Ghee that sounds awful, but arthritis is something you are best to treat with medical doctors and/or natural methods ... as this is a disease and sadly it can't be healed, mostly gets worse, although usually the pain can be treated, althought it may take a long time to find what works best for you. Also arthritis can occur in babies through to the elderly ... there is no such thing as a 'usual' age, although I guess we are aware of it more in the elderly ... but it's not an elderly disease.

    Your open bite ... it's possible it somehow came about during your ortho treatment ... mine kinda has, although like most (if not all) open bites, my tongue has done most of the damage. You're very lucky to still have straight teeth, as usually the tongue causes an open bite by thrusting against the back of your teeth and between them. A tongue thrust needs to be correctly diagnosised and treated if this is a cause, as the tongue muscle is extremely strong and it will open the bite again, even using retainers, if it's not corrected. I spent a year 'retraining' my tongue. This required wearing a special appliance with a bead on it, so that my tongue was trained to spend it's time going to the roof of my mouth, instead of the front of my mouth. I also was seen by a speech therapist to help me change the way I was speaking ... especially when I was tired. I still have an open bite ... a minor one that can only be corrected with surgery. For me surgery isn't an option, as the cost is totally out of my financial possibilities.

    Good luck talking to orthodontist's Matt and make sure you also talk to your medical doctor/dentist, as it's going to be very important, if you should go ahead with any form of orthodontic treatment, that the condition of your jaw joint(s) is carefully watched, as working with a joint with arthritis can be risky and painful.
    After 5 years, 11 months and two days of stainless steel brackets ... my teeth now have upper and lower bonded, gold wire, retainers and removable clear retainers!

  3. #3
    I had a similar situation. Had braces as a kid because of a large overjet and had two premolars extracted. When he finished pulling my teeth back, I ended up with an open bite. They never told me (I guess they couldn't really fix it) and until my new dentist mentioned it, I had no idea. I've also heard that TMJ splints can cause an open bite. I'd get a few opinions and see what you want to pursue. Often realigning the teeth or jaws can alleviate some of the pressure put on the TMJ joint and make your life a bit easier.



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