Approximately 1 in 10 people have an open bite, which is defined as teeth that don’t meet together when the mouth is closed. Also known as a parallel or overbite, it can occur for several reasons
No matter what the cause, having an open bite that goes uncorrected will lead to many problems with speech, chewing, and oral health in general. While nothing is wrong with having an open bite, correcting it will make your life easier (and if we’re being honest, more attractive).
Keep reading to find out all about an open bite, what it is, what causes it, and how it’s treated.
What is Open Bite?
We have an open bite when we have teeth that don’t align properly. The upper jaw usually slides in front of or behind (or both) our lower jaw. When you’re looking at a person’s face, an open bite will usually be visible as a small gap between their top and bottom teeth.
Open bites are also referred to as malocclusions: They’re often caused by overcrowding of teeth or a difference in size between the top and bottom jaws.
Causes of an Open Bite
Although it’s more common in children, adults can develop an open bite as well. It usually occurs when both primary and permanent teeth are present, but in some cases, just one set of teeth is affected.
Children may be born with an open bite or they could develop it as they grow into adulthood. A big cause of open bites among children is baby bottles and pacifiers. Another possible cause is thumb sucking. When babies suck on any of these items, their lower jaw develops incorrectly, causing a misalignment of their top and bottom teeth later on in life.
Bennion Ledingham Orthodontist can assist you in determining what caused your child’s or your condition so that you may effectively address it.
Symptoms of an Open Bite
The most obvious symptom of an open bite is that when you close your mouth, there’s a gap between your upper front teeth and lower front teeth.
You might not notice an open bite until you have difficulty closing your mouth all of the way, such as when chewing food. Additionally, some people with an open bite may find that they have a speech impediment because their tongue gets in between their teeth when they talk.
Types of Treatment Available
Open bite is a complex problem, so these treatments vary widely. In some cases, orthodontists use different types of braces to help fix open bite issues. The first type is usually traditional braces (also called metal braces).
These are what most people think of when they think of braces and they’re also good at treating open bites because of their flexibility; however, many other types of braces may be more useful in particular cases.
Adults with an Open Bite
Sometimes adult patients don’t realize they have an open bite or aren’t sure why it’s bad, but there are a few reasons it’s good to fix one. The open bite causes problems with eating and talking. As you eat, food can get stuck in your teeth and trap bacteria (which can lead to bad breath).
You might have trouble getting to every nook and cranny in your mouth when you brush and floss, which may cause gum disease or cavities if left untreated. The top of your mouth could get sore from not fitting right over your bottom teeth when you close it.
Children with an Open Bite
An open bite can cause speech problems in children, especially when it’s severe. A good thing to note is if your child seems embarrassed about their smile or is otherwise hiding their mouth when they speak.
Braces for children with an open bite will often consist of a metal tray that goes over teeth on either side of where their jaw is misaligned and held together by bands (think rubber bands) that attach to each side of the trays and stretch around to meet in front of or behind them.
The length of time your child will need to wear braces depends on how bad their open bite is; some cases are resolved within only a few months while more severe ones may take years to treat successfully.
At Home Care Instructions
If you’re thinking about getting braces, open bite treatment is a good place to start. To make sure your teeth shift properly over time, it’s important to follow up with your orthodontist.
When you have metal brackets on your teeth, it can be tempting to avoid certain foods that are harder to chew or scrape off plaque build-up around your brackets.
However, if you don’t take care of these things at home (or wear a retainer as prescribed), there’s a chance you could end up in worse shape than when you started with your braces—or even lose out on many of their potential benefits.
The Advantages of Treatment
Open bite is a condition that can cause several problems for your teeth. Braces can often be used to correct open bites, helping to prevent future problems with your jaw and face.
Because braces are used to move your teeth into their natural position, they make it easier for you to bite properly. In many cases, having braces on as you’re learning how to chew will aid in that process.
So not only do they provide aesthetic advantages, but they help with your health as well! If you want an attractive smile and better oral health for your lifetime or for your child, then orthodontic treatment with braces is an excellent solution.
Click here to schedule a free consultation to get started on your treatment plan.