ADULT AIRWAY ORTHODONTICS
Appliances & Alternatives to Surgery
Underbites, Tongue Thrusts & Open Bites: Alternatives to Jaw Surgery
If you have been told that the only option you have for correcting your bite is jaw surgery, please make an appointment with us to discuss your situation. Surgery to correct bite issues is appropriate in some cases. But there are often more conservative alternatives.
UNDERBITES: This condition occurs when the lower front teeth are in front of their top teeth. For most patients, non-surgical treatment will correct this condition. In many cases, this condition can be treated by wearing a reverse pull headgear that pulls the maxilla (upper jaw) forward or by using a specially designed appliance to push the top front teeth forward.
OPEN BITES: This condition occurs when the top and bottom front teeth don’t overlap. It is not uncommon for orthodontists to recommend surgery to have this condition corrected. In our experience, this procedure has a high “relapse” rate. In other words, the open bite re-appears several years after the surgery.
TONGUE THRUSTS: This condition exists when the tip of the tongue pushes forward against the front top 4-6 teeth during swallowing. Since we swallow around 2000 times per day, this unhealthy swallow pattern will push these teeth up and forward, creating the anterior (front of the mouth) open bite.
If the tongue thrust is not identified and that habit is not retrained, then the surgery to close the open bite won’t be successful or will relapse. There are some cases where retraining the swallow pattern to eliminate the tongue thrust will actually allow the anterior open bite to close on its own.
Before considering surgical options, we encourage patients to exhaust all of the non-surgical conservative options!
APPLIANCES THAT RE-OPEN SPACES CAN REDUCE SEVERITY OF SLEEP APNEA
As our collective knowledge of airway and sleep apnea grows, more and more adults are discovering the health benefits of an uncompromised airway.
Orthodontic treatment that includes reopening extraction spaces can help to reduce symptoms related to sleep apnea and TMJ disorders.
Certain orthodontic appliances advance and expand the maxilla and mandible (upper and lower jaws). These appliances allow us to re-create the space needed for so that we can replace the permanent teeth that were extracted.
This treatment can be a double win for patients. It improves appearance by widening the smile and improves health by opening the airway and allowing for proper position of the temporomandibular joint.
For more information about reversing previous treatment and reopening extraction spaces or to set an appointment to discuss your situation, contact us at 303.797.0832.
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