What Is an Open Bite?

One common dental condition requiring orthodontic treatment is an open bite. An open bite means your top and bottom teeth do not touch when your jaw is fully shut, leaving a space or gap between them. Left untreated, open bites get worse over time and can cause several painful issues, including headaches and earaches, wear and tear on your teeth, and gum disease.

While an open bite can be a complex issue, your licensed orthodontist can develop a customized treatment plan that helps correct your bite with braces or Invisalign, giving you the bright, healthy smile you deserve.

How are open bites different from overbites or underbites?

While an open bite means the upper and lower teeth don’t fully connect, an overbite means just the opposite – your upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth, which can cause painful jaw problems, wear on the lower teeth, and gum irritation.

By comparison, with an underbite, your lower jaw sticks or juts out farther than your upper jaw. While underbites are usually less serious, they can still significantly impact how your smile looks and feels.

Is an open bite bad for your teeth?

An open bite can cause complications for your teeth, mouth, and overall bodily health, not to mention an unattractive smile. Over time, they can also cause other problems, including:

  • Speech impediments
  • Painful chewing or biting
  • Snoring or other sleep issues
  • Tooth decay
  • Digestive issues

That’s why it’s critical to address an open bite as soon as possible. Children should get an orthodontic evaluation once their permanent front teeth have come in. An expert orthodontist can also help adults relieve and correct open bite issues with braces or Invisalign.

How to treat an open bite

Orthodontists can treat open bites in several different ways, depending on your specific dental issues and needs.

Your orthodontist may create a custom treatment plan that includes braces and/or Invisalign. While traditional braces are extremely effective, convenient, and reliable, your orthodontist may also choose to treat your open bite with Invisalign clear aligners.

For severe open bites, you may need oral surgery instead. However, this option is rare and only used in cases that can’t be treated with orthodontics. If you require surgery, your orthodontist will refer you to an experienced oral surgeon for a consultation.

Once you complete your orthodontic treatment, you’ll likely receive a set of retainers to keep your newly straightened smile stable and prevent your open bite from returning. During your initial consultation and assessment, your orthodontist will thoroughly detail your treatment options and answer any questions you may have about the recommended treatment plan.

If you or your child has an open bite in Parkersburg, we’re here to help. Contact Smith Orthodontics to schedule your free consultation!