I had braces as a kid, but haven’t worn a retainer in 50+ years. Ten years ago, my dentist
recommended a mouth guard because my teeth had become damaged from clenching. I’ve worn it nights
ever since. Over the years, I’d noticed that my bite was shifting, but the dentist always said it wasn’t due
to the mouth guard.
I just consulted with an orthodontist who thinks the appliance has indeed damaged my bite to the point
where I can only bite down with my molars – none of my other teeth make contact with each other.
This orthodontist suggests not using the mouth guard for a month to see if my bite improves.
I know from the few nights I’ve skipped it that not wearing it will cause jaw pain since I
clench my teeth all night.
The orthodontist recommends invisalign since they would correct my bite and straighten
the teeth that are now crooked. She’d throw in free bleaching – it’d be a complete makeover.
I’m wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience, and/or has an opinion on invisalign.
I wasn’t prepared for something this drastic! The orthodontist offered the cheaper option of a retainer
that might correct my bite – or it might not work. She has doubts about it. Thanks.
I’ve heard of it happening to other people. Some people with TMJ get dental appliances that over time cause them to develop an open bite or apertognathia.
I had TMJ and an open bite but never used an appliance the orthodontist suspected it was due to thrusting my tongue forward between my teeth while swallowing instead of upwards toward the roof of my mouth.
An open bite is one of the more difficult malocclusions to correct and has a high rate of relapse. I had to have two jaw surgeries in addition to traditional braces to close my bite and it was about a two year process.
You need to consult with an orthodontist first and see what your options are, if it’s a large open bite the Invisalign may not be of use, you may need traditional braces, possibly surgery if it’s a severe case.
I understand your frustration I dealt with if for years before I got it fixed, along with TMJ, and difficulty chewing my food properly. Maybe if you have a more mild open bite braces alone may be able to help. You have my sympathy I was very self-conscious before I got my bite corrected and it was an arduous and expensive thing for me to resolve but I’m glad I did it.
I’d try to find an orthodontist that has many years of experience and not a young new grad for this particular issue.
I have TMJD and have worn a night guard for 20 years now. I had to have braces twice to deal with the TMJD. I do have a very open bite, but not quite as bad as yours - about half of my teeth touch, not just molars.
Other than not being able to bite through a sandwich or something like a pickle, having an open bite is no big deal. The main thing is that I’m not in pain from the TMJD. My smile looks fine, my teeth are otherwise straight.
I would be afraid of messing up your jaw by messing with your bite. You don’t want to live with jaw pain.
Look for an orthodontist that specializes in TMJD. Not everyone who can move your teeth is an expert in TMJD.
It doesn’t matter what you do. You will go to your grave needing expensive dental work.
I had one tooth that I’m sure I spent close to $10,000 on over my lifetime. Finally had to have it pulled a couple of years ago. Now there’s a gap that I don’t know what to do with. An implant seems stupid at my age.
I started clenching and grinding due to pain issues a few years back. Within two years, all four of my molars had cracked and had to be pulled. Your mouth guard may have saved you that.
I got Invisaligns six months ago because, despite my age, I was tired of crooked teeth. The cost was “only” $4500, because I had a $500 coupon from my referring dentist. But there were several $500 discounts I qualified for (could only take one). Ask your orthodontist if there is a discount you could qualify for.
Once you have an Invisalign form, bleaching is not a big deal or something to be extremely grateful to the orthodontist for. They just give you some cream to stick in the form and leave in for half an hour. You will have to do this several days, until you’re satisfied. An extra tube of bleach cream cost $25.
One more thing: if you are not retired and especially if you have dental insurance, get everything done before you retire and lose your insurance. Yeah, dental insurance sucks, but not nearly as much as not having it.
This. Except I don’t have TMJD, just the open bite.
I had braces as a kid. They moved my teeth so the front ones met. Then I was done, and I despised the retainer and didn’t use it, and a few years later, there I was with an open bite again. I carry a pocket knife for some stuff other people do with their teeth, and I bite into sandwiches with my molars, or have bits of meat hanging down my face. But mostly it doesn’t bother me.
A dentist once told me I needed surgery to correct it, and sent me to a jaw surgeon. The jaw surgeon told me that if it didn’t bother me, there was no reason to do the surgery, but if I wanted to, he was the best around. So I took his advice, and left my jaw alone.
an open jaw isn’t something you need to fix unless it bothers you.
TMJD, on the other hand, can be very serious. I’d shop for a better-fitting night guard. (I dunno, maybe that’s what invisilign is, sort of.)
With Invasalign, and especially if they are trying to sell you on bleaching too, get a second opinion. Possibly a third opinion. I ended up having to stop seeing my dentist of nearly 30 years, whom I had always trusted and respected, because her office became an Invasalign store.
The most important question to ask is: “Suppose Invisalign didn’t exist - how would you treat my issues?”
Of course the orthodontist has doubts about a retainer - the profit margin is not nearly as good for her.
I’m not saying that Invisalign can’t be useful, but make sure it’s the right choice to treat your specific problem. After I left my dentist, who insisted that I needed Invisalign (and bleaching) to treat a small gapping problem, my next dentist told me that I had a perfect bite with no alignment issues at all.
Thank you all for such great responses! I’ve already scheduled appointments for four more opinions.
SpoilerVirgin, I love your idea of what to ask. I definitely noticed the sales pitch pressure aspect of my first
What that orthodontist and I decided to do was to stop wearing my night guard for a month, to see if my bite
improves on its own. I hope it’s not a mistake to risk damaging my molars from the clenching.
Puzzlegal, thank you for pointing out that my bite doesn’t necessarily need to be fixed. Actually, it has never
bothered me as far as eating. It’s just that my smile looks weird (and I used to receive compliments
on how beautiful it was).
Zipper JJ, that’s a very good point. Maybe the safest thing is to do nothing. I’ll see what I learn from the
other consultations. Thanks again, everyone!
Just finished Invisalign. I too had braces as a kid, but stopped wearing my retainer when I went to college. Teeth shift, it’s what they do. With Invisalign I wore 1 tray a week for 4 months. You are expected to wear your trays about 23 hours a day. Only taking out to eat. Your ortho isn’t throwing in the whitening for free…it comes standard with Invisalign and is included in the price. As noted above. You will be wearing your trays at night, so no nightguard. I have been pleased with my outcome. You get a few sets of retainers after the Invisalign is over, that you only wear at night. So, if you go back to wearing your nightguard, and are not wearing your retainers, your teeth will shift again.