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Open Bite: Types, Causes & Treatment Options

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Wearing a smile with confidence is something everyone should be able to do. A confident smile enhances your facial appearance and helps to boost self-esteem. Having dental defects such as misaligned teeth and jaws can have a negative impact not only on your smile but also have other challenges such as chewing, swallowing, and speech alteration.

When the upper and lower teeth cannot come together, there’s a gap created between the front teeth. Stay with us to learn more about the causes of open bite teeth, available treatment options, and how to prevent the situation from recurring.

What Is an Open Bite?

An open bite is an orthodontic defect where the teeth from your upper and lower jaws do not come into contact when your mouth is shut. The condition has your teeth from the upper and lower jaws misaligned and slanting outwards. An adult open bite can happen on the front part of your mouth and also the back.

What Causes Open Bite?

Most people experience open bites due to defects in their jaw bones. Children are most likely to have this problem with permanent and primary teeth simultaneously. Habits are also a contributing factor in the development of open bite. Below are other major open bite causes:

Genetic and developmental factors

Children tend to have open bite teeth when the baby teeth fall out, and the permanent ones begin to come out. You will not need an orthodontist to correct this issue as it resolves on its own.

The open bites may have severe complexities if a child inherits abnormalities related to their skeletal bones. The jaw does not fully develop in such a case.

Dental habits and behavioral factors

Open bite teeth can be caused by poor oral habits that are not necessarily genetic. Some of these poor habits include;

Babies constantly have this instinct to suck from time to time. The sucking minimizes between the age of 2 and 3 years. Some children develop open bite teeth from too much thumb sucking. The good news is that you can reverse the condition as long as the permanent teeth have not erupted.

Jaw injuries

Going through a traumatic injury that directly impacts your dental formula can result in your upper or lower jaw getting injured.

A misaligned jaw means aligned teeth that cannot come into contact when your mouth is closed.

Facial trauma

Going through an accident can result in facial trauma, affecting your jaw’s positioning. As a result, you’ll notice an open bite with the jaw’s inability to help your upper and lower teeth come together.

A prolonged period of bottle feeding

Letting your child bottle feed for a long time contributes to open bite teeth. Bottle feeding prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming into contact. Always use a cup to feed your child to prevent open teeth bites.

The feeding bottle alters your child’s growth patterns, preventing the upper and lower teeth from coming together when the child shuts their mouth. The result is the jaw bones misaligning and growing in different directions.

Poor dental care

Poor dental care brings forth cavities, gum disease, among other dental concerns. When your gums are not strong enough, your upper lower teeth fail to connect as they should. When you notice a gap on the front or back of your mouth, you must contact your orthodontist to treat cavities and unhealthy gums that could result in an open bite.

Missing or extra teeth

After extracting one or more teeth from your mouth, you’re left wondering why it’s essential to get a replacement immediately. Your mouth is used to having complete teeth, and deciding not to replace the missing teeth could have lethal consequences.

Leaving the missing teeth unreplaced for long weakens the jaw bone. A frail jawbone cannot support the remaining teeth in your mouth correctly. The soft tissues begin to hollow, causing facial trauma, which results in an open bite.

What Are the Types of Open Bites?

Open bite teeth can be from different types of teeth misalignment. Below are the different types of open bite, their location, and their leading causes.

Dental open bite

Some teeth erupt, causing an impediment on the gum or jawbone. As a result, the molars develop irregularly, making the upper and lower teeth not come together with a closed mouth. A dental open bite means that the gum and the jaws come in the way of positioning the teeth needing to erupt.

Anterior open bite

An anterior open bite happens when the teeth from the upper and lower jaw do not overlap. The front teeth fail to line up and cause an incomplete bite. Proper orthodontic treatment will help resolve an anterior open bite.

Skeletal open bite

A skeletal open bite is a generic problem that causes defects and facial growth deformation. In a skeletal open bite, the molars from the upper and lower jaws fail to have proper alignment.

Patients with the skeletal open bite have a long face syndrome. The condition comes with other symptoms such as a mentalis muscle from the pressure exerted in trying to close your mouth and the possibility of a gummy smile with increased interlabial gap.

Posterior open bite

A posterior open bite has two types of open bite defects. One involves the failure of the front teeth from the upper and lower jaws to touch, while the other involves these front teeth touching.

As a result, patients are forced to bite down, causing the back teeth not to come together. The treatment strengthens the molars and premolars, allowing you to chew again.

Open bite classification

What Are the Treatment Options for Open Bite?

There are many options available to help with the treatment of open bite teeth. Proper orthodontic treatment is one way to assist in fixing an open bite. A small open bite is easy to treat, as you may only use orthodontic devices, such as braces.

However, severe cases may require additional practices, including surgery. Here are some ways to help with open bite treatment:

Traditional metal braces

An orthodontist may recommend an open bite treatment with braces, especially if the cause is teeth misalignment. You can wear different types of braces for a specified period on the upper and lower jaw to help align the teeth and allow proper contact when your mouth is closed.

Clear aligners

Some patients prefer clear aligners over metal braces for purposes of teeth alignment. Depending on your budget, preferences, and age, you can choose from a wide selection of clear aligners that can get your ideal smile back. An orthodontist may recommend one of the best clear aligners for teenagers if you’re younger.

Orthognathic surgery

Some dental defects are extreme and can only be corrected through open bite surgery. Severe open bite teeth that cannot be corrected using braces or aligners will need orthognathic surgery. Patients no longer need to struggle with how to fix an open bite. The surgery helps to remove part of the upper jaw to allow the teeth from the upper and lower jaws to be more aligned.

Can you get Invisalign with missing teeth? Your orthodontist can give a green light for using Invisalign for your alignment treatment, even if you have some missing teeth. At times, before replacing missing teeth, you may have to align them all first to determine the amount of logical available space.

It would be prudent to note that clear aligners are only a viable option when one has a slight open bite, and may not come in handy when you have a severe case.

Having an open bite does not mean that it is the end of you having a great smile. With the advancements in modern dental medicine, there’s more than one way to deal with this dental concern and give you an ideal smile.

Take a look at some images of real people who had an open bite and their pictures after open bite treatment.


Open bite teeth is a dental condition that can easily get treated. Although there are various ways to get an open bite, you can always prevent the condition from getting severe by getting your teeth regularly checked by a dentist. You can also learn how to prevent open bite relapse to help you keep your newly found smile.

There are also various methods of treating an open bite, and your orthodontist will take you through all the available options, depending on your budget, preferences, age, and severity of the case.


What are the main problems associated with an open bite?

Going through long periods without treating any open bite can cause pain and discomfort. Chewing, swallowing, and sleeping becomes a significant challenge.

Is an open bite a major concern?

Like other teeth alignment concerns, an open bite requires the attention of a qualified orthodontist. Failure to attend to an open bite can cause pain, discomfort, and other personal issues such as low self-esteem. An open bite takes away the confidence needed to put up a smile.

Can an open bite fix itself?

An open bite in children whose permanent teeth are yet to erupt can resolve independently. However, adults with an open bite will have to consult with an experienced orthodontist to recommend to them the best treatment options to help resolve the open bite issues.

How does an open bite affect speech?

Having an open bite causes improper pronunciation of words. Correcting and aligning your bite makes pronunciation of most words that were initially a challenge easier.

What do you need for an open bite?

Using braces or aligners can help resolve the issue of an open bite. These treatment options help to gradually realign the position of the front upper and lower teeth. Combining headgear with braces helps to rectify the jaw and make contact between the upper and lower teeth easier.

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