Potential Treatments For A Moderate To Severe Anterior Open Bite

Dentist Blog

If you have an anterior open bite, front teeth in the upper and lower halves of the jaw don't come together when you close your mouth. The bite problem usually develops due to forceful tongue thrusting or having sucked your thumb or on a pacifier excessively as a child.

An anterior open bite might cause cosmetic concerns. But the moderate to severe forms of this bite problem can also change your facial structure, impede both speech and chewing, and cause decay and tooth pain due to increased exposure to bite force.  

A few different treatments exist for moderate to severe anterior open bite.


Braces are usually the first line of treatment. The braces will help straighten out the teeth so that the upper and lower teeth are as close to vertically parallel as possible.

Clear braces typically don't exert enough pressure to help fix a moderate to severe open bite. So it's likely that your orthodontist will use metal braces instead.

If you're missing a tooth or teeth in the middle of your mouth, the orthodontist might first install mini-implants. These tiny metal screws that are inserted into the jawbone in a similar way to a dental implant. The mini-implant is meant to provide a counterforce to the braces so that the rear teeth don't move up into the missing tooth's gap as your braces try to move the front teeth backwards.

Jaw Surgery

Once the orthodontic treatment is complete, you might still have an open jaw but with straighter teeth. In moderate to severe open bite cases, it's usually necessary to perform jaw surgery to shift the upper jaw backwards until its teeth vertically match the bottom jaw.

The oral surgeon will cut out a segment of bone at the rear of the upper jaw and shift that jaw backwards. This new position is held in place using medical screws and plates to facilitate the healing process. Patients can usually leave the hospital the same day as the procedure, but healing can take up to a year.


Your dentist or orthodontist might recommend the long-term use of a retainer after your open bite procedures are complete. A retainer will keep your teeth in the corrected position and guard against any pressure from tongue thrusting.

The retainer likely won't have to be worn all day, so it shouldn't impact your lifestyle substantially. Make sure to keep regular dental appointments to ensure the retainer is working well at keeping your teeth where they belong.


20 April 2015

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