open bite

Open Bite: What It Is and Why It Matters

You may have heard of crooked teeth, overbites, underbites and spacing issues, but what about an open bite? Many patients are only familiar with some of the more common malocclusions, or issues with the teeth; however, open bites occur just as often as any of the other alignment problems, and when not addressed, they can cause problems.

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, many people think since they’re used to the issues with their teeth, they don’t need to worry about correcting them. But not addressing these issues can create extreme discomfort as we age. Here’s what you need to know about an open bite.

What Is an Open Bite?

An open bite occurs when the front upper teeth and the front bottom teeth don’t meet as a person bites down. This results in a vertical gap in between the teeth. Normally caused by jaw abnormalities or the positioning of the teeth, open bites can develop due to the following:

  • Genetics
  • Thumb sucking
  • Tongue thrusts

All of the factors mentioned above can cause teeth to become misaligned and an open bite to form. An open bite should be addressed as soon as possible, as it can cause problems with everyday tasks.

Problems Associated with an Open Bite

Open bites can make eating extremely difficult, especially when biting into certain foods. Since the top and bottom teeth don’t meet in the front, it can be virtually impossible to bite into a sandwich. Can you imagine the frustration? Open bites can also cause problems with speech, as well as aesthetic issues, leading to low self-confidence. This type of malocclusion can also cause premature and unnecessary wear on your teeth, which can result in pain and discomfort as time progresses.

Fixing an Open Bite

Seeking help from an orthodontist is recommended if you’re suffering from an open bite. Braces or Invisalign may help correct your bite, so speak to your orthodontist about these options. Your preference on your treatment plan will depend on what you’re comfortable with and what is recommended to treat your issue. It should be noted that in some serious cases, jaw surgery may be needed to fix this bite issue. You won’t know for sure which avenue is right for you until you speak to a qualified professional and get a game plan together. If your child has an open bite, seeing an orthodontist as early as age 7 will make fixing the issue easier since their jaws are still developing.

All of the means mentioned above take a different approach, but they all have the same end goal—to close the gap between the top and bottom teeth and make everyday activities easier. If you choose to live with your open bite thinking it’s no big deal because you are used to it, you may be surprised when it starts to really interfere with your everyday habits. The best course of action is to take action. See an orthodontist about your open bite so that together, you can craft a plan to get your bite realigned and your smile perfect in no time.