open bite

Open Bite – Definition, Diagnosis & Treatment

Open bite is a common dental problem in which a gap is formed between the upper and lower anterior/front teeth. This can happen due to various causes and can be mild to severe. Most of the open bite treatments are only done inside a clinic and there is no home remedy for it.

What is Open Bite?

Teeth are very important part of our body which helps in tearing,chewing & grinding food. This happens by the help of the musculature covering the jaw and makes the movement of jaw.

This results in formation of occlusion between the teeth and anything between them is grinded into small pieces. Some times due to defect in the musculature or by self masochistic habits, The arrangement of teeth is affected causing mal-alignment of teeth. This results in open bite, Cross bite & Deep bite.

Here we are going to discuss about the open bite. We will understand how it happens, How open bite affects the surrounding structure of teeth and what is the treatment of open bite.

open bite

Definition of Open Bite

According to Subtelny, Open Bite is defined as the open vertical dimension between the incisal edges of the maxillary and mandibular anterior teeth.

In other words, There is a gap formed between the anterior upper and lower teeth. The anterior upper and lower teeth form an overjet of 2-3mm while Over bite is 1-2mm in a normal occlusion . In Open bite patients, the overjet and overbite is completely disturbed.

Causes of Open Bite

Open bite can occur by many reasons which are listed below.

Thumb Sucking Habit

Thumb sucking is an acquired habit which affects the anterior teeth. The thumb puts pressure on the upper anteriors due to which they tend to align anteiorly.

While the lower anteriors are pushed backwards leading to formation of a gap between them. This gap is called as Open Bite.

Tongue Thrusting

It is another self harming habit leading to formation of open bite. In this habit, patient tends to force his/her tongue against the anterior teeth leading the proclination of coronal surface of anterior teeth.

This makes a space between them and called as Open Bite.

Skeletal Defects

The patient can also have skeletal Defects which are hereditary leading to eruption of anterior teeth in wrong directions. This can also cause Open Bite formation.

Other Causes

Some other uncommon causes of Open Bite are:

  1. Nail Biting
  2. Pacifier sucking
  3. Temporomandibular disorders


In mild open bite, effects are almost un noticeable but it shows the following effects in moderate to severe condition.

  1. Aesthetics are compromised
  2. Temporomandibular diseases
  3. Difficulty in breathing
  4. Speech Problems
  5. Hypotonic Lips
  6. No formation of Lip Seal


Open Bite is diagnosed by panoramic radiograph of the whole mouth which is also known as OPG.

The symptoms are easily visible to patient and the dentist but it is confirmed by OPG.

Treatment of Open Bite

The condition can be treated by visiting a dentist. It’s treatment is not completed in 1 sitting as it is a slow process and requires much longer time.

Some options for the treatment are:

  • Orthodontics Braces are the first choice of treatment.
  • Habit breaking appliances are given to treat the cause of open bite.
  • Extraction of teeth to make space for other teeth in their proper position.
  • The root cause is to be treated in this condition.

As you can see most of the times, treatment of the root cause is necessary rather than forcing the teeth in desired position by the orthodontics Braces.

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