Open Bite

What is Open Bite and how is it treated?

Open bite is a facial alteration that is defined by the impossibility of closing the front or back teeth. That is, there is no contact between the anterior or posterior teeth of the upper arch with the anterior or posterior teeth of the lower arch.

Open bite affects patients aesthetically, since visually there is a gap between the two arches; but, above all, functionality is the most affected factor: patients can not correctly perform any of the basic masticatory or phonatory functions, thus presenting lisps or other speech difficulties, as well as digestive problems due to deficient chewing.


Open bite has four main causes:

  • A continued thumb-sucking or object-biting habit: this habit hinders the alignment of the teeth, especially if it occurs during their stage of development.
  • Tongue thrusting: the incorrect postures of the tongue when talking or swallowing can cause dental arches to separate.
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Problems: People who suffer from TMJ disorders can cause this problem by pushing their teeth with their tongue to try to reposition the jaw and thus relieve pain in the joint.
  • Skeletal problems: it has genetic causes, and it occurs when the bones of the jaw develop incorrectly.

During the change from the baby teeth to the permanent teeth, some children develop open bite, but it is important to keep in mind that the teeth will not completely coincide until the change has been completed and all the permanent teeth have come out.


Although there are some cases of open dental bite that can be solved with orthodontic treatment (usually in children), most cases require surgical treatment.

To this day, the only effective solution to correct open bite in adults is orthognathic surgery accompanied by orthodontic treatment.

Thus, the orthognathic surgery that will be performed will always be bimaxillary, to correctly position both arches, that of the jaw and maxilla, usually performing rotational and translatory movements.


Open bite can very negatively affect  the lives of people who suffer from it:

  • Appearance: Patients with open bite frequently report problems of self-esteem, as there is a gap (sometimes very noticeable) between their teeth.
  • Speech: Open bite can cause different problems of elocution, in addition to involuntary spitting when speaking.
  • Eating: Open bite prevents patients from biting and chewing food properly, which in the long run can cause digestive disorders.
  • Dental wear: Since the back teeth are the only ones that come in contact, they wear out faster than normal, causing discomfort and even dental fractures.

After performing orthognathic surgery, our patients experience a great improvement in facial aesthetics, and above all, a disappearance of the discomfort caused by open bite and recovery of functionality.