Note the anterior open bite and narrow arches,
Prior to any treatment a comprehensive evaluation by dentists highly trained to recognize and evaluate:
2) tongue posture
3) aberrant swallowing pattern
4) , cervical issues
4) TMJ pain or dysfunction
Most likely, TMJ dysfunction should be treated first. This can take 3-6 months and the goal is to achieve comfort and stability by repositioning it to a healthy and better physiologic position. A neuromuscular orthotic can be used and balanced, sophistated computer programs can be used to help to help ascertain stability of the muscles as well. Most of the time, anterior open bite patients have developed a narrow upper jaw and this can be expanded with functional orthodontic appliances followed up with braces. This all non-surgical and when carefully planned can achieve nice results.
The last part of the equation is the airway and breathing and the neck. Mouthbreathing due to airway obstruction, whether due to tonsils, narrow palate, or forward head posture is detrimental to ones health. It is sometimes necessary to use a myofunctional therapist to help retrain patients proper breathing and swallowing. By the way, the swallowing with the tongue between the teeth is what causes the open bite and this is often done as it is the only way they get air in.
It is easy to see that is very important and complex treatment. The good news is that there are dentists highly trained in this area who can guide individuals through treatment. If you have any questions about Houston TMJ or Houston TMJ pain, please feel free to contact our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF 713-668-2289.