An open bite is a kind of malocclusion in which some teeth on the upper jaw do not come in physical contact at all with the corresponding teeth of the lower jaw. This condition generally occurs due to an abnormal jaw structure. Given below is a quick overview of the causes, signs and complications of this dental condition.
Causes of open bite:
• The most common cause of open bite is hereditary
• The habit of thumb sucking may extend beyond normal periods of time in some cases, which increases the risk of open bite later on
• Specific speech disorders like a lisp may not cause open bite, but it can worsen the condition, which leads to further speech impairment
Signs of open bite:
• The most evident sign of open bite is that the inside of the mouth can be seen when the jaws are closed
• It may be difficult, or even impossible, to chew some kinds of food
• Food may not stay in your mouth and may spill out through the opening in front
Complications due to open bite:
• Open bite is known to cause severe speech problems, wh, otherwise your speech will be affected.
• You may experience pain in the temporomandibular joint that can also lead to headaches.
• It may affect the cartilage of the joint and cause wear and tear right up to the bone level. If left untreated, the situation may worsen, and you may require surgery
• Treatment for open bite varies. One method is to make your child wear a certain headgear attached to the upper first molars to control vertical growth of the upper jaw and to enable the lower jaw to move up and forward.
• Bite blocks may be placed between the upper and lower jaws to control the growth of the lower teeth. These blocks are attached to a functional appliance.
• Orthodontic treatment using braces for several months is a common treatment method during the early stages of the condition
• If tongue thrusting behaviour is evident, you may need to wear a functional appliance as well.
The exact treatment of open bite varies according to the patient’s age and severity of the condition.
If you believe that you or your child have this problem, you should consult a dentist as soon as you can.