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Open Bite: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Welcome to Reese Orthodontics, your Charleston, SC premier Invisalign and Braces professional. We look forward to helping you obtain your best smile.

Bite issues, which are often called “malocclusions,” occur when the top and bottom

Open Bite: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

 teeth are not aligned correctly when they come together. Sometimes, the top or bottom teeth go too far forward or back compared to the other row, resulting in

an overbite or underbite. Other times, the teeth do not overlap at all, leaving them “open” at the front or back even though your mouth is closed. This is called an open bite.

Open bites can be caused by numerous factors, but no matter the cause, they can be treated with common orthodontic procedures. Continue reading to learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of open bite so that you or your child can get the help you need.

Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.

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The Symptoms of an Open Bite

Since open bites occur when the teeth can’t close completely as the person bites down, the main symptom is the gap left between the two rows of teeth. This gap can lead to speech impediments (even smiling can be difficult). The symptoms can change depending on the type of open bite you have, which is classified based on the position of the teeth or the cause of the malocclusion.

For example, an anterior open bite occurs when the front teeth protrude away from the bottom while a posterior open bite occurs when the back teeth don’t touch even when the mouth is closed.

However, in most cases involving open bite, symptoms can include chewing difficulties, speech difficulties, wear and tear to the teeth that can still come together, and TMD, which is a disorder affecting the temporomandibular joint.

Finally, patients with open bites often lose confidence due to speech impediments or an inability to smile comfortably. While often overlooked, healing the mental impact of a long-term dental health condition should be considered one of the major benefits of receiving treatment.

The Causes of Ppen Bite

While it is difficult to say exactly what causes a patient’s open bite, depending on the type of open bite they suffer from, certain behaviors or genetic factors may have played a role.

For example, in posterior and anterior open bites, the relative position of the teeth, the jaw size, and the width of the palette could all contribute to the condition. These can be determined by genetics, but early childhood habits play a role, such as:

  • Thumb-sucking, which can cause the palette to narrow or the upper front teeth to be drawn forward
  • Tongue-thrusting, which can cause teeth to push outward
  • Chewing objects, even a baby bottle, which can potentially cause the bite to develop incorrectly
  • Oral trauma resulting from a fall or a blow to the mouth in an accident

In a dental open bite, the cause is usually a jawbone that is genetically too small or large or a gum condition that causes adult teeth to grow incorrectly. Finally, in a skeletal open bite, the problem is the genetics that determine how the person’s face and jaw formed in early childhood.

Whatever the cause, open bites can be treated with the methods listed below.

How to Treat an Open Bite

An open bite can be treated in three main ways depending on the severity of the issue and the patient’s age. These include modifying the person’s habits, prescribing them an orthodontic appliance, or performing oral surgery.

Sometimes, an open bite can be predicted and prevented by modifying a young patient’s behavior. This is why visiting an orthodontist in early childhood can save parents time and money in the future by predicting issues before they become serious.

Open bites form when adult teeth come in. Before that, they can potentially be prevented by behavioral changes such as teaching the child not to thrust their tongue, weening them off their pacifier, or preventing them from chewing foreign objects.

Behavior changes will not be enough for patients with a full set of adult teeth. In that case, the most common treatments involve orthodontic appliances such as braces, Invisalign, Herbst appliances, headgear, and more. The appliance you will need depends on the type of open bite, the severity of the issue, and the oral structures that have contributed to the problem.

Finally, oral surgery may be warranted to treat open bites. This surgery, called orthognathic surgery, corrects the positions of the tooth arches and jaws while making any rotational adjustments needed to the bone structure to achieve a more aligned bite. Often, orthodontic treatment is still warranted even after this surgery to ensure that the jaw remains in a healthy position.

Choose Reese Orthodontics

If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you. 

Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.

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