What is an open bite?
An open bite is when the top and bottom teeth do not align correctly, so even when a patient bites down, there is an open space between the bottom and top teeth. Fortunately, open bite correction in Saint Peters, MO, is available. For premier treatment and compassionate orthodontic care, make an appointment with Unger Orthodontics.
What causes an open bite?
Open bites can be caused by skeletal problems, where there is poor alignment between the upper and lower jaw. This condition can also be caused by a jaw issue. Both of these are genetic problems, but early childhood habits such as the following can also cause an open bite:
- Thumb sucking.
- A habit of pushing the tongue against the back of the front teeth.
- Chewing on pens and other objects.
- Excessive use of pacifiers and bottles, especially beyond very early childhood.
Open bite symptoms
The most common symptom of an open bite is that an individual can’t bring their teeth fully together, leaving a gap between the bottom and top teeth. Most commonly, this happens with the teeth at the front of the mouth, but in some cases, the molars may not come together correctly. Other common symptoms are:
- Difficulty chewing
- Breathing through the mouth
- Pain when chewing
Why correct an open bite?
Every person is different, but some people with open bites can experience:
- Difficulty caring for their teeth or challenges reaching all teeth with a brush and floss, putting them at risk of cavities, tooth decay, gum disease and other oral issues.
- Speech difficulties, including lisping.
- Self-consciousness about their smile.
- Digestive problems caused by difficulties chewing and biting food correctly.
- Excessive wear and tear on the teeth that do come together, leading to chips, cracks and fractures.
- Jaw pain.
Open bite treatment can address these problems and make them go away or improve, which is why open bite treatment can be a desirable solution for many individuals.
Open bite treatment options
It’s possible to correct open bite issues at any age. Fixing an open bite begins with an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan from an orthodontist. Depending on the patient, the severity of the open bite and other factors, an orthodontist may recommend:
- Braces: Braces gradually realign teeth, ensuring a proper bite. Braces include brackets that are bonded to the teeth and wires between the brackets. Orthodontists can tighten the braces to correct many bite problems, including an open bite.
- Invisalign®: Invisalign consists of clear aligners, which are worn over the teeth for most of the day except when eating or brushing. They work much like braces by correcting teeth alignment, but they are less visible.
- Surgery: In severe cases of open bite and in situations where a skeletal issue is the cause, orthodontists may recommend jaw surgery to address this orthodontic problem.