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Do you think I have an open bite?

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:15 am
by Lisa123
Hi guys,

I'm wondering if you could help me, I'm completely new to all of this and really confused. Over the past two years or so I have been clenching my teeth during the day and grinding my teeth at night. At first it was on and off, but now I'm doing it all the time and I can't seem to ever relax my jaw. It constantly feels stiff and tense and I'm getting a lot of headaches and pain in my back teeth from where they're doing all the work. Im finding eating and talking increasingly painful and just generally being awake is uncomfortable. It's also difficult for me to get to sleep at night because I'm so aware that my jaw is so stiff and it means I can't relax into sleep, when I eventually do get to sleep I'm waking my partner up with my teeth grinding.
At first I thought I just had to make an appointment with the dentist to get a mouth guard fitted, but now I've started to notice that I can't bite down properly and my teeth don't meet at the front. I feel that this looks really unattractive but putting that aside it's also causing me pain and I wonder what damage in doing to the rest of my teeth. It's also worth mentioning that I have a slight lisp. The reason I'm posting is I want your advice, judging by my description do you think I need to do anything about this? If I leave it will it get worse? Does it sound like I have a problem with my bite or so I just need a mouth guard? I'm in the UK and I have a feeling I'm going to have a fight on my hands to get any treatment. I'm trying to figure out how to attach photos so people can refer to them. Any advice you could give me will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Re: Do you think I have an open bite?

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:25 am
by Ali
I am not a dentist, so please keep that in mind. However, I have been a clencher, have had custom mouth guards for ten years, and suffered from a lot of facial pain for...I can't even remember how long. I don't know what an absence of pain feels like. Sometime over the past years, I developed a posterior open bite: my molars don't touch. My pain stems from the fact that my muscles are trying to protect my front teeth from banging into each other. This was diagnosed by a specialist at the orofacial pain clinic at the local dental school. Their treatment plan was for me to get braces to fix my bite, but they arrived at this conclusion slowly, as they are very conservative in their treatment. I first learned stress reduction techniques, etc.

If your front teeth don't touch, it sure sounds like an open bite to me, and it's worth getting checked out. I don't know a lot about how dental care in the UK works (when you say "a fight" do you mean getting the NHS to pay for it?). As for damage to your teeth, yeah, if your teeth aren't properly aligned, they can wear down. Also, clenching and grinding can cause damage. I cracked a molar and needed a root canal and crown because of the clenching (I got the mouth guard after that).

All that said, it's also worth looking into stress reduction techniques, whether that be meditation, breathing, massage, yoga.

Good luck!

Re: Do you think I have an open bite?

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:57 am
by Lisa123
Hi Ali,

Thank you so much for your reply.
Can I just ask, are you just going down the braces route or are you going to be having surgery too? I've read that as an adult the only way to fix an open bite permanently is to have braces, then surgery, then braces again. I might be wrong.
Have you managed to stop your teeth clenching? I feel like I'm never going to be able to stop clenching my teeth, I will try yoga etc though. Thank you for your great advice!
I have my appointment with my dentist on Wednesday and I'm just trying to figure out what I'm going to say to her to try to get treatment, there's no way I can afford private treatment, so I'm really hoping I'll be able to get it done on the NHS. I have a really bad feeling they're going to say my case isn't bad enough, but I feel that my teeth look awful and are really misaligned. As I said I'm in a lot of pain, I have a lisp and I feel like I'm doing a lot of damage to my back teeth. I also have teeth crowding, when I was 21 I had to have my wisdom teeth taken out as they had no space to grow and were causing infections as they were growing into my gums. Sorry for rambling, I feel like I'm just venting.

Re: Do you think I have an open bite?

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:54 pm
by Ali
Surgery has not been indicated in my case, but my molars are only a couple of millimeters apart. Apparently it can be fixed with braces alone, but a posterior open bite might be easier to fix than an anterior one?

It sounds to me like you could really benefit from treatment, and I hope your dentist agrees. The pain is definitely an issue that warrants treatment!

And I seem to have stopped the clenching, o miracle of miracles. Perhaps I still do it a bit in my sleep, but I don't wake up clenching, whereas I used to do so every morning.

Re: Do you think I have an open bite?

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:07 am
by Lisa123
Thank you so much for all of your help and advice Ali. I have my dentist appointment today and I'm really hoping they agree, I don't feel like I can live with the jaw pain for the rest of my life and I hate the look of my teeth and profile.
I hope the rest of your treatment goes well! I'm so glad to hear you've managed to stop clenching your teeth! :)