What is an Open Bite: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

About Us

Get the skills, guidance, and resources you need to make a bikkkg difference in your contact center operations that can lead to a big difference

How can we help you?

Voss Dental awarding winning doctors and professional staff focus on providing excellence in patient care through precision dentistry, so you can rest assured you are in the best of hands.
What is an Open Bite: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Malocclusion is a condition whereby the teeth are not aligned properly. This condition can lead to some serious oral health problems. Malocclusion can prevent your teeth from performing the required functions. Occlusion is a term that is mostly used by orthodontics and other dental specialists. The term refers to the ideal condition where teeth should fit in your mouth without leaving spaces or crowding. Here are some of the features of malocclusion.

  • Spaces in your teeth
  • Crowding of teeth
  • Teeth rotation or twisting

The teeth on your upper jaw should fit on the grooves of the teeth on your lower jaw. If the teeth get misaligned, then you will probably experience dental issues.
To correct the condition and protect your lips and cheeks from getting bitten, you will probably need teeth alignment.
Malocclusion is mostly an inherited condition, but some habits and conditions can also cause the jaw structure to change. These include prolonged bottle feeding in childhood and thumb sucking. In this article, we will look at one of the types of malocclusion called an open bite.

What Is an Open Bite?

Open bite is a type of malocclusion that is majorly characterized by a vertical gap. This gap is usually visible between the front teeth. When the teeth from the two jaws are completely in contact, the front teeth from the upper and lower jaws cannot meet. This condition occurs in about 0.6 percent of the people living in the United States of America. This condition has a characteristic of vertical overlap between the front teeth. The prevalence of this condition varies with different populations.
It occurs in various types. The following are the common types.

1. Anterior Open Bite

An anterior open bite mostly occurs when the front teeth (Incisors) in the lower and upper jaws fail to overlap on a completed bite. This condition mostly affects all the front teeth but can also affect just a few of the teeth. Most patients with this condition will mostly need corrective treatments. The treatment is to restore the tearing and biting functionalities of the front teeth. For some patients, the speech is also affected. Though not guaranteed, the treatments for this problem can also restore speech quality. However, the restoration of speech is not promised since it develops during early childhood.

2. Posterior Open Bite

This type of malocclusion is the opposite of the anterior open bite. This type of malocclusion occurs when you have teeth not touching at the back. During a state of biting down (Occlusion), the teeth at the back do not touch. The most affected teeth include the premolars and molars. For people with this type of malocclusion, corrective treatment is necessary to help them chew correctly.

3. Dental Open Bite

This problem occurs when you have an issue with the impediment of tooth eruption. Tooth eruption is the tooth’s process getting past the jaw bone and the gum to be able to show up in the dental arch.

4. Skeletal Open Bite

This type of malocclusion is usually associated with abnormal growth of the face. It is mostly a genetic problem that leads to irregular growth and development of the two jawbones’ molars.

What Causes this Malocclusion?

This can be a hereditary problem. This means that the problem could get passed from one generation to another. This condition is also caused by a mismatch in the size of the lower and upper jaws. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, some of the major causes of the malocclusion are:-

  • Extra teeth, impacted, abnormally shaped, or missing teeth.
  • Oral habits that include thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and pacifier sucking.
  • Facial trauma affects the shape of the jaw
  • Poor dental fitting restorations
  • A prolonged bottle-feeding period
  • Using pacifiers excessively
  • Tumors in the mouth or the jaw
  • Poor dental care, for instance, in fitting the braces, crowns, and dental fillings.
  • Obstruction of the airway that leads to breathing using the mouth
  • The temporomandibular joint disorder commonly referred to as TMD or TMJ

How to Treat the Open Bite Malocclusion?

Open bite occurrence in babies is very common. You will probably find your kid developing this problem during the mixed dentition phase. This is mostly the reason why the primary dentition falls off to give room for the permanent teeth. Unless the malocclusion is genetic, the problem in the child may correct as early as possible immediately the permanent teeth erupt.

For instance, after the child grows out of the oral habits that could cause the malocclusion, the problem can easily correct itself. The following are the possible ways to treat the malocclusion.

See Also: Malocclusion and its treatment

1. Use a Headgear

The commonly recommended type of headgear is a high-pull headgear. This headgear attaches to the upper side of the head and also the backside of the head. The appliance takes control of the jaw growth to correct the issue. In the process, teeth alignment also occurs. This headgear is mostly used with braces to be completely effective.

2. Clear Aligners

Can Invisalign fix open bite? Yes. Invisalign is a good example of these aligners. Invisalign is an effective way of dealing with a minor open bite that would occur on the front teeth. The use of clear aligners is, however, not a common procedure.

3. Vertical Chin Cup

Orthodontics mostly use this appliance to correct this malocclusion. This appearance works by controlling the process of growth of the lower parts of the face. To be effective, it impedes the chin’s downward and backward growth.

4. Rollers

Orthodontics use these appliances on mostly a preventive basis. The roller works by preventing the tongue from thrusting through the front teeth. This is an oral behavior that mostly leads to this malocclusion if it starts at an early age. Tongue thrusting also causes the protrusion of the front teeth, also referred to as over-jet. This appliance is made up of a tiny bead. This bead strengthens the muscles of the tongue. The roller is also connected to a pair of braces that are put on the upper jaw.

5. Use Bite Blocks

Your orthodontic will use a biting block at the back of your lower dentition. He or she will place the clock on the back molars on both sides of the jaw. This procedure will then allow the front teeth to overlap with time. However, this is a lengthy procedure.

6. Surgery of the Jaw

If you have a skeletal problem, an orthognathic surgeon will perform a surgical procedure on your jaws. Your surgeon or orthodontic expert will prescribe this procedure if you have already developed the permanent teeth. For children who have fully developed their permanent teeth, the procedure is also a great choice.
However, the procedure impedes the growth of permanent teeth in children if done before their jaws are mature.

7. Use of Veneers to Fix Open Bite

Veneers are cosmetic additions that are commonly used in case the malocclusion is minor. A veneer is mostly a fixture made from ceramic or composite material. Your teeth are scrapped first, then the fixtures are added. Veneers are also a great fix for a slight open bite. This slight open bite is almost unnoticeable.

8. Behavioral Change

This could be the best solution for your child. It involves training your kid to avoid sucking the thumb or thrusting their tongue through the front teeth. Change of behavior is also used to treat minor or emerging malocclusion. As a parent, you can also avoid using pacifiers and sucking bottlers for an extended length of time. It is also a great way to fix open bite without braces.

9. Blue Grass Appliances

This appliance is very much similar to Nance appliances. However, it has some plastic rollers that a patient can use to break out of the tongue-thrusting habit.

10. Use of Elastics to Fix Open Bite

If you have an anterior type of malocclusion, your dentist, orthodontic, or doctor will recommend using elastics to correct it. These elastics come in pre-configurations of vertical and triangular elastics.

11. Tongue Crib Therapy

This is a removable crib that your orthodontic will put in your mouth to prevent the tongue from thrusting against the upper teeth. Most dental experts use it for patients with mixed and permanent dentition.

Why Do You Need to Fix This Problem?

This malocclusion can be a very problematic condition. Some of the challenges that you will face include;

  • Inability to bite
  • Inability to chew if you have the posterior type
  • Speech impediments
  • Difficulty when eating some types of food
  • Increased probability of wear on the teeth at the back
    Other problems include the inability to seal the mouth to prevent drooling, not a very great smile, and lowered esteem.
    However, we can put the reasons for the need of fixing as follows:-
  • Improvement in pronunciation that results in better speech
  • Happy appearance and for aesthetic-al purposes
  • Eating purposes
  • Protecting your other teeth from wear and tear

Side Effects That You Might Experience from Open Bite Treatments

You may experience side effects after undergoing a malocclusion correction procedure. These side effects are mostly specific to the procedure itself, but some could be common in most treatments.
Some of the most common side effects that you might experience include:

  1. If your orthodontic specialist prescribed a tongue crib therapy, you would probably find that the appliance will trap food. This causes inflammation around the area that has the crib. Due to repetitive contact with the tongue, patients also experience an imprint of the crib happening on the tongue. This will, however, resolve itself after the removal of the crib.
  2. A patient might also experience a gummy smile. This is especially the case if an extrusion or intrusion of the anterior and posterior teeth respectively happens. This condition is also not a very desirable one since the intentions for the treatment were the opposite.

What Is the Cost of Treating an Open Bite?

The cost of this malocclusion treatment will depend on the procedure required and how extensive the procedure is. The average cost of treating the malocclusion is a figure that ranges somewhere between $3,000 and $7,000. This cost will cover the treatment, which goes for approximately 18-30 months.


Orthodontics can fix open bite at any age. However, it is advisable to treat the problem after the permanent teeth have grown. This is mainly due to the extent of the pain the child might experience. Most orthodontics advocate for an earlier dental evaluation of a child. This is especially good if the child has some baby teeth still left. The orthodontic implement procedures to prevent the problem at this age. These include behavioral improvements, avoiding the use of a sucking bottle, etc.

In adults, working out this malocclusion can be pretty complicated. This is because you might need behavioral change, use adult braces, or even surgery to fix the malocclusion.
For this malocclusion treatment, you can schedule a consultation with any orthodontics clinic. If you live in the state of Texas, maybe Houston, you can schedule a consultation with the Voss Dental clinic. Voss dental clinic is in the heart of Houston, Texas.


  1. Does Invisalign work for open bites?
    Yes. Invisalign can treat multiple types of open bite. Invisalign is a kind of treatment that straightens your teeth.
  2. My teeth don t touch when I close my mouth, can I use braces?
    Yes, depending on the type of your open bite, braces can be helpful.
  3. Can an orthodontic fix open bite without braces?
    Yes, through a process called Invisalign. Methods used widely to treat these malocclusion include using braces, change of oral behavior, using veneers, and others.