Open Bite

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Open bite is a common dental case amongst children and adults.  The usual cause for open bite are anomalous oral habits such as excessive thumb sucking or pacifier usage.  Open bite, when untreated at an early age, can cause aesthetic and functional issues in the subsequent development of front teeth.  It is recommended to treat open bite as early as possible (usually around age 4) in order to prevent these future complications.  It may be difficult to identify open bite on your own as most cases only become apparent in later ages (8 and up).

Coming in for regular checkups is key to ensuring that open bite is diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages.  Proper treatment of open bite requires correction of any anomalous oral habits in conjunction with dental treatment.  If the patient's habits are not corrected, open bite will not only persist, but also require more expensive and complicated treatment down the road.

5 years ago, a 9 year old patient came into Dr. Lin's office with an anterior open bite and bi-lateral posterior cross-bite.  Her anomalous oral habit of mouth breathing caused her cheek muscles to narrow, which led to her open bite.  The open bite affected her ability to speak (severe lisp) and chew properly (over-reliance on molars to cut).  Dr. Lin developed an early interceptive treatment plan in collaboration with an ENT doctor to correct the patient's mouth breathing habit, expand her upper jaw, and amend her open bite.  After this 18 month treatment, her parents could see and hear the results - a newfound clarity in their daughter's speech and her ability to consume food properly.

Underbite

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Underbite, formally known as prognathism, is another common dental case amongst children and adults.  These cases are particularly prevalent amongst Asians and are particularly noticeable at an early age.  Most underbite cases can be attributed to genes or development abnormalities.  It is highly recommended to treat underbite cases as early as possible in order to ensure ample time for proper growth and development.

2 years ago, the parents of a 5 year old boy came into Dr. Lin's office with concerns about their son's abnormally slow speed at eating food.  Dr. Lin's diagnosis revealed that it was the boy's underbite (caused by irregular growth) that was hindering his ability to chew food properly.  Dr. Lin devised a 3 month early interceptive treatment plan to move the patient's misaligned upper jaw forward and fix his aesthetic look.  This straightforward early interceptive treatment paid huge dividends in ensuring the boy's proper growth down the road.

Overbite 

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Overbite is a common dental case in which the upper jaw grows too far forward (maximum protrusion) or the lower jaw remains too far back (underdeveloped).  Like most other cases, overbite cases usually stem from genes or abnormal development.  When overbite cases are treated at an early age, patients not only benefit from a fast solution, but also avoid more complicated and expensive surgery procedures that would be required down the road.  Regular checkups are the key to ensuring that overbite is diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages.  

Proper diagnosis of overbite is very important.  If the cause of overbite is skeletal, it is best to treat as soon as possible.  If the cause is of dental origins, patients can hold off on treatment without any severe consequences.  From an emotional and aesthetic perspective, we highly recommend for patients to treat overbite as early as possible.  Leaving overbite untreated can cause trauma or self-esteem issues, especially in young children.

3 years ago, the mom of a 9 year old patient came in concerned about the negative aesthetic effects of her child's overbite.  After diagnosis, Dr. Lin confirmed that it was indeed an overbite due to the patient's genes.  Dr. Lin developed a 15 month treatment plan to bring the misaligned upper jaw back, fix the overbite for both aesthetics and function, and prevent trauma on the front teeth.  This combination of orthodontic and orthopedic treatment not only ensured the patient's proper physical development, but also helped her regain her pride and confidence.

TMJ Syndrome

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is a joint that is essential to the everyday opening and closing of one's jaw.  The TMJ is a crucial hinge in the grand scheme of the mouth.  Displacement or noise in the TMJ can lead to serious and chronic facial pain.  This particularly painful and severe syndrome disrupts and impairs one's chewing function, which can then lead to depression, trauma, or anxiety.

3 years ago, a 20-30 year old female patient came into Dr. Lin's office depressed, uncomfortable, and unable to sleep.  Dr. Lin's diagnosis revealed that her misaligned bite had resulted in the uneven wear and tear of her TMJ.  This TMJ displacement created major reoccurring pain in the patient's facial muscles and interfered with the daily function of her jaw.  The patient's inability to eat food without severe pain caused her to develop great anxiety and depression.  As a result, she had to regularly visit a psychologist in order to quell her emotional stress and pain.

Dr. Lin had to develop a plan to fix the misaligned TMJ without worsening the joint and ensuring the patient's emotional well-being.  He developed a 2 year treatment plan comprised of gradual incremental fixes to relax the facial muscles, limit the TMJ symptoms, minimize pain, and correct the asymmetrical bite.  Dr. Lin set up regular 4 week checkups with the patient to alleviate her stress, update her on progress, and give her encouragement.  Dr. Lin also gave the patient his direct line so she could reach him 24/7 and immediately raise any questions or concerns she would have without having to schedule a formal appointment.  After the 2 year treatment, the patient left the office joyous and happy with a normal bite and none of the emotional stress or pain from her old TMJ syndrome.  

Orthognatic Surgery 

The objective of orthognatic surgery is to correct skeletal disproportions in matured adults.  Skeletal disproportions may lead to poor aesthetics, abnormal functions, and TMJ problems.  Severe skeletal disproportions cannot be treated by orthodontic treatment alone and are best treated through a combination of orthodontic treatment and surgery.  

4 years ago, a 23 year old college student came in to Dr. Lin's office expressing concerns with the negative aesthetic effects and impaired functions of his skeletal disproportions.  Dr. Lin's diagnosis revealed that the patient had an abnormally long lower jaw and an extreme underbite.  Dr. Lin devised a pre-surgery 1 year orthodontic treatment to return the underbite teeth to their proper angle in consideration with the patient's academic schedule.  After the operation, the patient returned to Dr. Lin for a 1 year post-surgery treatment plan to correct the final details on his bite and ensure his teeth's uniform alignment.  This combination of orthodontic treatment and orthognatic surgery resolved the patient's former aesthetics issues and impaired functions - with his proper facial proportions restored, the student now looks years younger than before.   

“As someone who is stressed about going to the dentist, I’m always pleasantly surprised by my visits to Dr. Lin. Not only is he very patient about my phobia, he is always willing to explain everything clearly and listen to my concerns. Instead of just telling me what my X-rays show, he brings me the images and traces through to show me what is occurring...managing to turn a root canal into a virtually painless experience for me.”
— Vicky R., College Student