Open, Over, Under, Oh My! What Is An Open Bite?

21 July 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

There are so many different terms for dental problems. The overbite is the most commonly used, but what about an open bite? Do you know what this is and how it will affect you or your child who suffers from it? Do you even know how it was formed and can be treated? Here's all you need to know about an open bite.

What Does an Open Bite Look Like?

As the name suggests, an open bite forms a gap between the teeth. It is when the teeth have misaligned to the point where they don't meet when you close your mouth. It can cause gaps between the upper and lower teeth at the front, sides, or both. This happens because the upper teeth don't sit further forward than the bottom teeth, aiding them to close over the top.

The treatment you will need does depend on the type of open bite you have and its severity. Some can be fixed with minimal treatment when you get out of the habit that has caused it. Others will need more extensive and continuous treatment, due to problems with the development of the muscles.

There are three types of open bites: anterior and posterior open bites and incomplete overbites

What Causes an Open Bite?

There are a small number of habits that are the main cause for open bites. One of those is tongue thrusting, where the tongue pushes between the teeth and lips to create a seal for swallowing. It is a process that babies go through but usually grow out of it. Thumb suckers can also develop an open bite.

These are habits that can be treated. Once you get out of the habits, you may find that the teeth realign on their own.

Some open bites are developed through the way the tongue rests in the mouth or the size of the tongue. The tongue affects the muscles in the jaw, weakening the muscles and affecting the alignment of the teeth.

What's the Open Bite Treatment?

As mentioned, some of the bites can be left and treated naturally. This is especially the case when you accept there is an issue and need to get out of habits.

However, the use of braces and headgear is widely popular for correcting over bites. Braces in children is the preferred option, since the teeth and mouth are still developing and will adjust much easier than in adults with fully developed jaws and muscles. Moreover, headgear also tends to have a more negative impact on a child's self-esteem than braces do.

If an open bite is severe enough, surgery may be required. Whether or not surgery is needed to fix the problem is something only a dentist can discuss and determine with you.

For cosmetic dentistry, contact a dentist office such as Valley Oak Dental Group Inc