WHAT IS AN OPEN BITE?
Open bite is a type of malocclusion characterized by the presence of a vertical gap visible in the front teeth. This generally occurs due to an increased vertical dimension. People may have slanting or proclined upper or lower teeth which do not touch on closing the mouth.
WHAT DOES AN OPEN BITE LOOK LIKE?
An open bite is generally seen in the front teeth region. If a person has an open bite, there will be a vertical gap between the upper and lower teeth when the teeth/ jaws are at rest. That means the upper and lower front teeth do not meet when the mouth is closed. This generally affects the facial appearance and impacts the speech. Sometimes people with an open bite have a lisp in their speech or other speech problems.
WHAT CAUSES OPEN BITE?
Open bite is generally caused when the teeth are not aligned properly. Genetics may be responsible for an open bite present since childhood. There may be other external problems responsible for the development of open bite too.
1. Thumb sucking or pacifier habit: Prolonged habit of sucking on the thumb or pacifier till the ages of 6 years or more may cause the front teeth to procline forwards causing an open bite.
2. Other habits like tongue thrusting, mouth breathing, chewing on objects such as a pencil, etc. may also contribute towards malalignment of teeth and consequent open bite.
3. Skeletal malocclusion
4. Extra teeth, impacted, abnormally shaped, or missing teeth
5. Prolonged bottle-feeding period
6. Temporomandibular joint disorder
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF OPEN BITE?
Open bite can be of the following types depending on its position:
Anterior open bite: There is a gap between the front teeth of the upper and lower jaw as the upper and lower front teeth fail to overlap on closing the mouth.
Anterior open bite affects the appearance of the face and speech.
Posterior Open bite: The upper and lower teeth at the back do not touch on closing the mouth. This causes difficulty in chewing food.
IS IT BAD TO HAVE OPEN BITE IN MY TEETH?
As mentioned, open bite affects the facial appearance. Since the front teeth generally are present in a proclined state in an open bite and they look like they’re sticking out. An open bite may also be a result of harmful habits like mouth breathing. Open bite may cause difficulty in chewing or speaking; may lead to a lisp. Hence, such malocclusions need to be corrected.
WHAT ARE MY TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR CORRECTING OPEN BITE?
Depending on your age and the severity of open bite, an orthodontist may recommend a treatment plan specific to your needs. Various myofunctional appliances like headgear or chin cups may be needed to pull your teeth in place. These are bulky and applied externally. Other intraoral appliances like Roller appliances, bite block, Blue grass appliances, etc. may be used. In rare cases, orthognathic surgery may be recommended. To avoid cumbersome appliance therapy or orthodontic brackets with wires, you may choose clear aligners. K Clear aligners enable orthodontic teeth movement with the help of clear tray like appliances, that snugly fit your teeth and have orthodontic forces incorporated into them to correct your crossbite. They are removable, transparent, plastic aligners that need to be switched out every two weeks, as the orthodontist slowly moves your teeth into a better alignment. Apart from
being invisible, they are also comfortable as they have no wires poking around. They are removable so can be conveniently removed while eating, and brushing. So do not let your doubts cage you (like braces) from smiling wide, instead get K clear aligner treatment and smile fearlessly!