What is Open Bite? Its Causes, Signs, Diagnosis, Cost and Treatment.

Have you ever noticed that your teeth are not in proper shape and are not properly aligned?

Have you ever felt that you have a bad bite?

Well, this bad bite is called MALOCCLUSION.

Malocclusion is a term used when your teeth are misaligned. According to modern research, about one-fifth of the Canadian population has a major misalignment. There are various types of malocclusion:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Crossbite
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Openbite

So, we will discuss Open Bite. But before knowing about the open bite, you may wonder- What is a proper bite?

Proper bite or ideal occlusion means when the upper and lower teeth make contact with each other and the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth in a fully closed mouth. 

What is an Open Bite?

Open Bite

It’s one type of malocclusion in which the upper and the bottom teeth don’t touch each other when the mouth is fully closed. There remains an opening between the teeth. An open bite can be:

Anterior Open Bite

A bite when there is a gap between the upper front and lower front teeth.

Posterior Open Bite

A bite where there is a gap between the back or posterior teeth (premolars and molars).

Skeletal Open Bite

This bite occurs due to abnormal facial growth. This may be a genetically inherited condition.

Dental Open Bite

It includes all the bad oral habits.

Causes of Open Bite

It is caused because of bad dental habits that include-

  • Thumb sucking: Babies suck their thumb to soothe themselves. If the habit continues above 3-4 years of age, it may lead to an open bite.
  • Tongue thrusting: It’s a condition in which the tongue protrudes during a speech, swallowing or even at rest.
  • Lower lip sucking.
  • Use of pacifiers.
  • Prolonged and incorrect feeding through bottles.
  • Mouth breathing.
  • Poor tongue posture.
  • Improper swallowing pattern.
  • TMJ disorder in which the patient suffers from chronic pain in his jaws. 
  • Lack of space for the eruption of permanent teeth.

Signs of Open Bite

  • The most noticeable sign is the opening between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is fully shut.
  • Difficulty in chewing and swallowing.
  • Speech problems.
  • Misaligned teeth.
  • Pain while biting.
  • Unattractive smile.

Diagnosis of Open Bite

A skilled orthodontist can do a proper physical examination or perform X-rays or 3-D imaging. Once your diagnosis is done, the orthodontist will provide you with the treatment options and their cost depending upon the condition of teeth.

open bite dental xray

What about the Cost Of Orthodontic Treatment?

The cost of the treatment completely depends on the severity of your problem. Some malocclusions require very limited and budgeted treatment. Always feel free to ask about your treatment cost with your expert. He/she may offer patent plans according to your financial needs. Many dental insurance plans are also available for carrying out the proper treatment.

Treatment of Open Bite

Thanks to our modern dentistry that has developed various methods to correct an open bite and can give satisfying results to the patients. Some treatment options include-

Treatment of Open Bite

Braces

These are the most convenient and affordable methods for treating open bites. They are easy to maintain and are very reliable. Braces could be of many types-

  • Metal
  • Ceramic
  • Lingual

High Pull Headgear

This attaches to the top of the head, back of the head and upper jaw. It controls jaw growth and improves teeth alignment. 

Clear Aligners

They are effective in the treatment of minor anterior open bites. But this method is less commonly used. Eg- Invisalign. 

Vertical Chin Up

It is a common orthopaedic appliance that controls the growth of lower part of the face and prevents the chin from growing backwards or downward. 

Roller Appliance

This appliance helps in preventing tongue thrusting. 

Jaw Surgery

Adults with skeletal open bites need surgery. The surgical procedure is required in very complicated cases. 

Outcomes from Treatment of Open Bite

  • The first thing you will notice is your beautiful smile and the self-confidence to smile freely everywhere. 
  • Decreased wear and tear
  • Once the open bite is corrected, your teeth will be properly aligned and the masticatory force will be equalized which helps in reducing wear and tear of teeth. 
  • Improved speech
  • Better chewing

Side Effects of Open Bite Treatment

Some people may experience side effects that are specific to the treatment procedure itself. They are-

  • If the patient is prescribed a tongue crib therapy, that appliance will trap food that may cause inflammation around the area that has a crib.
  • The patient may experience a gummy smile if treatment involves intrusion (moving teeth inwards) or extrusion (moving teeth outwards) of teeth. 

Is an Open Bite Bad for your Teeth

Yes! If this condition is left untreated, with time it may worsen your oral health. You may suffer from

  • Gum Diseases
  • Excessive wear and tear of teeth
  • Aesthetic Issues
  • Speech problems
  • Snoring

If your child has an open bite, don’t delay the treatment. Children with 7 years of as can undergo treatment when there is a mixed dentition and jaws are still developing. 

Can you Correct the Open Bite at Home

No! Since it requires great skills and experience. Only a professional can do it. If your child has bad oral habits, you can try to avoid them as early as possible. 

Conclusion

Prevention is always better than cure. The best cure is to prevent an open bite is to stop it from occurring in the first place. Eliminate the habit of thumb sucking, avoid prolonged use of pacifiers and bottle feeding, avoid lip sucking. We can fix open bite at any stage. In adults, treatment is quite complicated because of the full development of jaws and teeth. Take care of your teeth and smile freely.

References

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 3). Open bite malocclusion. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_bite_malocclusion

Open-Bite Malocclusion: Treatment and Stability. (2013). Germany: Wiley.

Dr Deepak Kansal

Dr Deepak Kansal is a dentist, who is currently working in Sri Ganganagar. He did his Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Rajasthan University of Health Science.

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