Open Bite: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment Options
What is an open bite?
When most people say “open bite,” they’re referring to an anterior open bite. People who have an anterior open bite have front upper and lower teeth that slant outward so they don’t touch when the mouth is shut. If you have a posterior open bite, your back teeth don’t touch when your mouth is closed.
An open bite is a type of malocclusion, which means the teeth aren’t aligned properly when the jaws are closed. This could be causing various issues for you, like:
- A lisp or another type of speech impediment.
- It may affect the way you chew.
- It could affect how you swallow.
- It could affect the flow of saliva in your mouth.
- Your tongue may rest in a different position.
- And it could cause irregular wearing of your other teeth due to abnormal amounts of pressure put on them.
What Causes An Open Bite?
- Thumb or pacifier sucking. When someone sucks on their thumb or a pacifier (or another foreign object like a pencil), they strain the alignment of their teeth. This can cause an open bite.
- Tongue thrusting. An open bite can occur when a person speaks or swallows and pushes their tongue between their upper and lower front teeth. This can also create gaps between teeth.
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ). TMJ disorders cause chronic jaw pain. Sometimes people use their tongue to push their teeth apart and comfortably reposition their jaw, which can cause an open bite.
- Skeletal problem. This occurs when your jaws grow apart as opposed to growing parallel to each other and is often influenced by genetics.
How to Treat an Open Bite?
Once you visit the orthodontist for a comprehensive exam and diagnosis, you can discuss treatment options. Expert orthodontists can treat open bites with a variety of treatment; they will offer a professional recommendation based on your specific diagnosis and needs.
Be sure to seek an expert opinion from a licensed orthodontist in a specialized orthodontic practice, who can provide cutting-edge technology and is up-to-date with all treatment modalities.
Braces are an effective, convenient, and affordable method for correcting an open bite, when used in the hands of an expert orthodontic provider. There are several braces options, including metal, ceramic, and lingual (Incognito®) braces – depending on your diagnosis, your orthodontist may be able to treat you with any of these tools. Braces are extremely reliable, easy to maintain, and create beautiful results: many people have corrected their open bites with braces.
Invisalign is another option for closing open bites. Invisalign is effective and convenient when used by an experienced doctor. They have gained popularity for treating a wide variety of orthodontic issues, and can successfully correct open bites for teenagers and adults alike. Compared to traditional braces, Invisalign has actually proved to be more effective for treating open bites, so long as it is used as a tool by an expert orthodontist. Seek treatment from a highly-credentialed orthodontist: Diamond Plus or Diamond Invisalign Providers have the most experience with this treatment technique and can provide the highest-quality care, as well as lower prices and faster treatment times.
For some severe cases of open bite, oral surgery might be necessary: this is rare, and only for very complex cases that cannot be treated by orthodontic intervention alone. If your case requires surgery, your orthodontist will refer you to an oral surgeon. Oral surgery and orthodontic care together can achieve the optimal results for these severe open bites.