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Teeth misalignment: Open bite

Open bite in adults

The open bite is the most common teeth misalignment in adults. In this case, the anterior or posterior teeth do not meet correctly. In addition, there is a small or significant gap between them. An open bite in adults not only has aesthetic effects - the misalignment should also be corrected from a medical point of view.

Thanks to the latest technology, teeth correction for adults can be done discreetly. The clear aligners from DrSmile can be integrated into everyday and professional life without any problems. They are therefore suitable as a form of treatment at any age.

Open bite: Causes 

The causes of an open bite are either genetic or brought about by unfavourable behaviour. The frontal open bite in adults often begins in childhood. This form is also called habitual open bite, where there is a visible gap between the lower and upper teeth. Reasons for this can be the use of a dummy in childhood, thumb sucking or tongue pressing. An open bite caused by a dummy is particularly common when the child is 3 years old or older. Children often do not notice an open bite because they are not used to it any other way. If the misalignment is not treated, it can persist into adulthood.

The second form is the lateral open bite, which often has genetic causes. Doctors refer to this form as a skeletal open bite. For example, if the permanent teeth have too little space for eruption in the lateral area, a sideways open bite can occur. 

The open bite and its consequences in age

Whether the bite is open at the front or at the side, the consequences are often similar. On the one hand, speech and chewing problems can seriously affect the lives of those suffering from the condition. With a skeletal open bite, the jaw joint has to absorb a lot of chewing pressure. If left untreated, TMJ problems and severe degeneration of the jaw joints can result even in adulthood. In the case of frontal open bite, the effects are mainly seen in incorrect lip closure, frequent mouth breathing and dry mouth. The consequences are permanent mouth irritation and teeth decay. In addition, those affected may have problems pronouncing certain letters. For many, this manifests itself in the form of a lisp. 

Another issue is the cosmetic impact. Affected people often develop a feeling of shame and therefore smile less. Self-confidence - both in private and professional life - can likewise suffer.

Regression in adults and children

Whether it is an open bite in children or adults - the correction of misaligned teeth requires professional help. This is the only way to achieve functional and aesthetic improvements. This is accompanied by the correction of chewing and speech problems through speech therapy and an improvement in the quality of life.

Open bite treatment in adults

The treatment of an open bite in adults varies depending on the type and severity. For frontal open bite and moderate lateral open bite, aligners or fixed braces can be used as a treatment. The clear aligners are changed every 14 days and can be removed for eating. The advantage is that the treatment is discreet and can therefore be perfectly integrated into everyday life of adults.

Treatment without surgery and braces

DrSmile Clear Aligner

Open bite can be treated well without surgery. In most cases, clear aligners or fixed braces are used for treatment without surgery. However, braces for adults are often rejected because they are very noticeable and cannot be removed independently. Many patients are afraid that braces might affect their private or professional lives. 

The choice of treatment for an open bite therefore often falls on the aligners. DrSmile specialises in aligner treatment for adults and provides an innovative treatment concept. The DrSmile specialists are experts in orthodontics, dentistry and dental technology and use state-of-the-art technology for treatment. In a free and non-binding consultation, the experts will provide you with thorough advice and show you how your open bite can be treated.

Correction with surgery

If the skeletal open bite is severe, surgery may be necessary for treatment. In the case of a sideways open bite, the operation can bring the affected jaw (both jaws can also be affected) into the correct position. However, for minor misalignments, clear aligners are perfectly adequate for treatment.

Costs of treatment with clear aligners

Adults can have an open bite treated quickly and efficiently - even on a budget. DrSmile offers the treatment with clear aligners for as little as £29 per month. The cost of the clear aligners depends on the complexity of your misalignment. The price is communicated transparently from the beginning, so that there are no hidden costs.

Does the NHS cover the treatment?

Whether the health insurance will cover the costs of an open bite treatment depends on the severity of the malocclusion. It is important to know that only the costs within the scope of a standard treatment are paid by the NHS. 

A rating system called Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) is used to assess your eligibility for NHS treatment. The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) website has more information about the different grades used for the IOTN.

NHS treatment is available for grade 4 and grade 5 cases. Grade 3 cases are usually judged on an individual basis. NHS treatment may also be available if the appearance of your teeth, jaw or face is of concern.

Some complementary dental insurances also cover the costs of treatment in adulthood under IOTN grade 4. Please consult your health care provider before starting treatment.

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