An open bite occurs when the upper and lower front teeth don’t make contact when biting down. This results in a gap or opening between both arches of teeth when a person closes their jaw. Not only can an open bite affect the appearance of your smile, but it can also affect its function as well. It is not uncommon for patients with an open bite to experience difficulty speaking and eating.
An ideal bite is when the upper teeth will slightly overlap the bottom teeth by about 25%. Open bites can typically be diagnosed in a child’s early oral development. Dr. Scott McElroy is a San Ramon, CA orthodontist who treats patients who have an open bite. Learn the signs and treatments for an open bite at McElroy Orthodontics below.
The Signs of an Open Bite
There are a few signs that may indicate an open bite:
- The front teeth do not meet when the mouth is closed
- Difficulty closing the mouth
- Uncomfortable or difficulty chewing
- Mouth breathing
- Improper tooth alignment
- Speech impediment
There are also several types of open bites to be aware of:
Anterior open bite: When biting the teeth together, there is no overlapping between the opposing front teeth.
Incomplete overbite: When the lower front teeth do not make contact with the upper front teeth.
Posterior open bite: When there is a space between the back teeth when biting down.
Treating an Open Bite
If patients have a mix of baby and permanent teeth, an open bite may resolve on its own. However, if we notice that an open bite is progressing, we will recommend treatment. Regular appointments should be scheduled to monitor a child’s development and make the appropriate recommendations.
Dr. McElroy will perform a comprehensive evaluation to assess the condition of the teeth and jaw and how they relate to each other. Depending on the results of your evaluation, the patient’s age, and the development of the baby and permanent teeth, Dr. McElroy may recommend:
Open Bite FAQs
What is the best treatment for an open bite?
The most common and most successful treatment for open bite is orthodontics. Braces are used to push teeth into their aligned position. Jaw surgery is needed to correct an open bite in some severe cases, but in most cases braces can correct it.
What problems can an open bite cause?
Open bite can cause overcrowding and bite function issues. It also may cause speech issues, an abnormal face shape, and trouble chewing.
Is open bite genetic?
Open bite is oftentimes caused by genetics. It also may be caused by a growth issue when teeth change from baby teeth to permanent teeth.
Contact Our San Ramon, CA Office
Call (925) 386-2208 to treat you or your child’s open bite. You may also request an orthodontic consultation with Dr. McElroy on our website.