Conservative treatment for a growing patient with a severe, developing skeletal Class III malocclusion and open bite

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An 8-year-old Chinese girl sought treatment for a severe skeletal Class III malocclusion and open-bite skeletal pattern. Traditionally, patients with a skeletal Class III malocclusion are treated after they have stopped growing, and then they are treated with a combined orthodontic and orthognathic surgery approach. But the risks and expenses of this treatment plan are not acceptable to all patients. This young patient was treated with facemask therapy, a maxillary expansion device, and a molar occlusal splint for maxillary developmental stimulation with control of vertical jaw growth. After the completion of orthopedic therapy, 2 × 4 technology was used to adjust molar positions. A bonded tongue crib was used in the early permanent dentition to help the patient break her bad tongue habits. Straight-wire appliances were used for 16 months to adjust the occlusal relationship. This achieved significant improvement in anterior tooth relationships and facial profile esthetics. At the 2-year posttreatment follow-up, the results were satisfactory. The success of the sagittal relationship correction between the maxilla and the mandible for a skeletal Class III malocclusion depends on the coordination of transverse and vertical relationships combined with the growth potential of each patient.

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