Open Bite - Oral Surgery and Braces
Felix is a male youth patient treated by Dr. Page Hudson for under bite and open bite at our Oxnard office. This is an excellent example of a challenging case requiring a nuanced treatment to optimize the patient’s bite. Felix was exhibiting an anterior open bite specifically - that is, his front teeth did not make contact when his jaws were fully closed. The exact cause of open bites is difficult to assess, because it is generally a result of genetic factors and also early childhood behaviors. Young children who tend to chew on objects, force their tongues against their teeth, or chew on their fingers excessively can exacerbate a situation in which there may already have been a mild open bite. Outside pressures on the teeth can make the open bite more severe, but might be unlikely to cause an outright open bite in a patient with an otherwise normal bite.
Other factors which can cause an open bite are rapid growth spurts. Growth spurts can cause rapid facial bone growth which creates jaw misalignment. When Felix’s case was first assessed by Dr. Hudson, Felix had already experienced his major adolescent growth spurt which likely contributed to his open bite. To make the case a bit more challenging, Felix has had an under bite - which is a very common orthodontic condition in which the lower jaw protrudes out further than the upper jaw.
In early orthodontic evaluations, an orthodontist would have likely detected the potential for these conditions to develop, and could have implemented a passive solution to correct in the issue in the still developing facial bone structure. Early orthodontic evaluations generally occur between 7 and 10 years of age. Felix was past this age when he was first evaluated, and because his facial structure was mostly formed and was therefore less malleable to early orthodontic techniques like palatal expansion, oral surgery was required to correct structural issues and make it possible to optimize Felix’s bite using braces.
This case is a excellent example of what’s possible using a comprehensive range of orthodontic treatments. Felix first went through 12 months of pre-surgery treatments before the corrective oral surgery was performed. Following this, Felix was allowed to heal for several months before having braces applied. The entire process took 30 months from start to finish. Felix was very patient throughout the process, and the result is a beautiful smile that Felix will enjoy for life.