What is an Open Bite?

Open Bite

What is an Open Bite?

An open bite is a type of malocclusion that occurs when the top and bottom teeth do not touch when the mouth is fully closed, leaving an opening in a patient’s smile. In a correct bite, the top and bottom teeth touch all the way across with only a slight overlap of the upper teeth when the mouth is closed. An open bite can occur due to skeletal or dental issues such as pacifier or thumb sucking, lower lip sucking, tongue thrusting, and TMJ disorders.


Open bites can have many symptoms:

  • Trouble swallowing or chewing
  • Pain when chewing
  • Tooth decay
  • Speech issues
  • Gum decay
  • Wearing down of back teeth

It is important to see your dentist to correct your bite and alleviate your symptoms.

Treatment Options

With some children who still have most of their baby teeth, an open bite can occur if they are sucking their thumb or pacifier. In these cases, it can sometimes resolve on its own once the behavior stops. In cases where the patient has adult teeth fully grown in, braces or clear aligners may be used to correct the bite. If you have a more serious case, oral surgery may be necessary.

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