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FAQ:  Open Bite

Open Bite Ask The Prosthodontist Christopher McFarland Question:
Chronic sinusitis leading to malocclusion and opem anterior bite: I have recently consulted a orthodontist regarding the malocclusion of my molars and premolars and my mild anterior openbite which had developed over the last 7 years.

I was informed that defects in swallowing caused this due to constant irritation at the back of the throat from Chronic Sinusitis.

The final diagnosis was a Class-3 malocclusion, with a anterior openbite from 16 to 26 due to abnormal swallowing. I consulted a speech therapist on the orthodontists recommendation, which said there is no defect with my swallowing.

Can this chronic siunsitis lead to defects in swallowing and consequently malocclusion? How necessary is it to correct this problem? ...Visitor from South Africa

You don't mention your age, so I don't know if the Class III is due to a growth or familial issue.

There are people that have a medical condition that causes lower jaw growth. It is also possible that the problem is with the the heads of your lower jaw deteriorating which shortens the vertical portion of the jaw causing the open bite.

I think knowing how you got to where you are and if it will continue to get worse over time are the biggest issues. You could of course live with an anterior open bite of a few millimeters, but what if it continues to develop and the space continues to open?

The issue of Chronic Sinusitis causing a defect in swallowing is a new one to me. Again, with out knowing your age and if you are still growing, it's hard to have an opinion on this possibility.

I think I would suggest you see an oral surgeon and have radiographs taken of your entire mandible. Make sure you relate the entire history and how the bite has changed. This may take you seeing several specialists before you get opinions that are similar. Good Luck

Christopher McFarland, DMD
Atlanta Prosthodontist - Periodontist
2530 Lawrenceville Highway
Decatur - Duluth - Atlanta, GA
(770) 492-0256

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