What is Open Bite – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Open Bite - What Is it? How To Diagnose, Treatment Methods, and More

One common dental condition requiring orthodontic treatment is an open bite. Open bite is one kind of malocclusion or “bad bite”: when the top and bottom teeth don’t touch each other when the mouth is fully closed, showing an opening between the top and bottom teeth. Open bite could occur in the front or in the back of the mouth, although a frontal open bite is much more common.

In a proper bite, the rows of upper and lower teeth should connect all the way across, with the upper teeth overlapping the lower teeth slightly when the mouth is fully closed.

With an open bite, the upper and lower teeth do not make contact in the front or back of the mouth, even when the jaw is shut.

This guide will help you understand open bites: what they are, why they happen, and how to treat them. This FAQ will answer any questions you may have about open bites.

What is an Open Bite?

An open bite occurs when the top and bottom teeth do not touch at the front or back of the mouth when the jaw is fully shut, leaving a space between them. Open bites are a form of malocclusion, or “bad bite”: a variety of dental issues that cause the teeth to align improperly, causing problems when biting down, and a host of other related issues, including pain, oral hygiene issues, and tooth and gum decay.

An open bite can be complex to treat, but a skilled, licensed orthodontist will be able to correct this condition with a variety of braces and Invisalign treatment types. If you have an open bite, seek a doctor who can help correct it, giving you a healthy smile and a proper bite.

What Are the Causes of an Open Bite?

There are two underlying causes for an open bite: skeletal, or dental – sometimes the problem is caused by both.

What Are the Signs of an Open Bite?

The most noticeable sign of an open bite is an inability to entirely close your mouth so that your front or back teeth don’t touch on the top and bottom.

Other signs you might have an open bite or another malocclusion:

  • Inability to make contact with upper and lower teeth
  • Problems with chewing or swallowing
  • Less-pronounced chin
  • Speech problems, such as a lisp
  • Improper teeth alignment
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Difficulties biting food with the front teeth
  • Unattractive smile
An example of open bite

Diagnosing an Open Bite

If you have concerns about your bite, it’s very important to visit a licensed orthodontist, in a specialized orthodontist’s office, for him or her to examine your teeth and bite. The orthodontist will provide a diagnosis, using x-rays and/or 3D-imaging as well as in-person examination.

The x-rays will allow your orthodontist to see what’s below the gum line to examine the open bite and determine its causes. Once you have a diagnosis, the orthodontist will go over treatment options for your case. Together, you will decide the best course of action to treat your particular malocclusion.

Is an Open Bite Bad For Your Teeth?

Yes. An open bite can cause complications for your teeth, mouth, and overall bodily health, not to mention an unattractive smile.

A malocclusion like an open bite gets worse over time, which increases the chances of problems like gum disease, or excessive wear and tear of the load-bearing teeth.

Other problems associated with an open

  • Speech impediments, such as a lisp
  • Lack of confidence/embarrassment with your smile
  • Problems or pain with chewing or biting
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD)
  • Headaches and earaches
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Snoring
  • Gum and periodontal disease
  • Tooth decay from excessive bacteria growth
  • Digestive issues from trouble chewing

Due to these associated problems, it’s important to address an open bite as soon as possible. Children with an open bite should get an orthodontic evaluation at age 7 when the front adult teeth have fully erupted. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children see an orthodontist for a consultation at age 7.

Adults, too, can achieve excellent results with braces or Invisalign treatment from an expert, licensed orthodontist. It’s never too late to correct dental issues and straighten your teeth.

How to Treat an Open Bite

Once you visit the orthodontist for a comprehensive exam and diagnosis, you can discuss treatment options. Expert orthodontists can treat open bites with a variety of treatments; they will offer a professional recommendation based on your specific diagnosis and needs.

Be sure to seek an expert opinion from a licensed orthodontist in a specialized orthodontic practice, who can provide cutting-edge technology and is up-to-date with all treatment modalities.

Male Braces Patient with Open Bite


Braces are an effective, convenient, and affordable method for correcting an open bite when used in the hands of an expert orthodontic provider. There are several braces options, including metal, ceramic, and lingual (Incognito®) braces – depending on your diagnosis, your orthodontist may be able to treat you with any of these tools. Braces are extremely reliable, easy to maintain, and create beautiful results: many people have corrected their open bites with braces.

An example of how Invisalign treatment fixes open bite

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Invisalign treatment is another option for closing open bites. Invisalign treatment is effective and convenient when used by an experienced doctor. They have gained popularity for treating a wide variety of orthodontic issues, and can successfully correct open bites for teenagers and adults alike.

Compared to traditional braces, Invisalign has proved to be more effective for treating open bites, so long as it is used as a tool by an expert orthodontist. Seek treatment from a highly credentialed orthodontist: Diamond Plus or Diamond Invisalign Providers have the most experience with this treatment technique and can provide the highest-quality care, as well as lower prices and faster treatment times.

Orthodontic braces patient smiling after recovering from oral surgery

Oral Surgery

For some severe cases of open bite, oral surgery might be necessary: this is rare, and only for very complex cases that cannot be treated by orthodontic intervention alone. If your case requires surgery, your orthodontist will refer you to an oral surgeon. Oral surgery and orthodontic care together can achieve the optimal results for these severe open bites.



Retainers are used as a protective measure after other orthodontic treatments: whether you get braces or Invisalign, your orthodontist will provide you with a set of retainers to keep your smile in place and your open bite from coming back. It’s very important to wear your retainers as instructed by your orthodontist to maintain the results of your orthodontic care.

Frequently Asked Questions About Open Bite

Treating an Open Bite: Before and After

Brittanny, 30 Years Old, with Open Bite: Before and After Invisalign Treatment

open bite before and after invisalign treatment 30 years old female front view

Frequently Asked Questions About Treating Open Bite With Invisalign Clear Aligners

Frequently Asked Questions About Treating Open Bite With Braces