Reviewed by Dr. Benjamin Foley, DDS

📖 Reading time: five minutes.

Do you have an unusual gap between your upper and lower teeth, even when your mouth is closed? If so, you might have an open bite. This isn’t just a quirky smile detail; it’s a real condition that can affect your bite pattern, jaw joint, speech, and even your confidence

At Foley & Le Oral Surgery, we’re experts at turning open bites into healthy, beautiful smiles. Our surgeons specialize in diagnosing and treating open bites, helping patients achieve balanced, functional smiles that radiate confidence.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the causes of open bites, their potential consequences and bite correction treatments that we offer.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

An open bite is a malocclusion where the upper and lower teeth don’t touch when the mouth is closed, creating a gap. This misalignment can affect chewing, speech, and jaw health. Open bites can be effectively treated with orthodontic approaches like braces or Invisalign, or in more severe cases, orthognathic jaw surgery.

What is an Open Bite?

An open bite is a condition where the upper and lower teeth don’t make contact when the mouth is closed. This misalignment can occur either at the front of the mouth, known as an anterior open bite, or at the back, called a posterior open bite.

Types of Open Bites

  • Anterior open bite: Your upper teeth don’t meet or overlap with your lower teeth when you bite down. 
  • Posterior open bite: Your posterior teeth (premolars and molars) don’t meet when you bite down.

Open Bite vs. Overbite

Open bites and overbites are two distinct bite misalignments. In an open bite, there’s a gap between your upper and lower teeth when your mouth is closed. 

On the other hand, an overbite occurs when your upper front teeth excessively overlap your lower teeth.

Why Does an Open Bite Develop?

Several factors can cause an open bite:

  • Genetic factors: Your jaw structure and facial development play a significant role in proper position of your permanent teeth.
  • Oral habits: Prolonged thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or pacifier use can disrupt the normal eruption of your teeth and jaw growth.
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder: Jaw pain and dysfunction can lead to bite problems.
  • Skeletal issues: Abnormal growth of the upper or lower jaw can create misalignment.

Why Should You Correct an Open Bite?

Leaving an open bite untreated can have a domino effect on your oral health and well-being:

  • Difficulty chewing: Open bites make it challenging to bite and chew food.
  • Speech impediments: Misaligned teeth can affect your pronunciation and clarity of speech.
  • Jaw pain and TMJ issues: The strain on your jaw joints can cause chronic discomfort and dysfunction.
  • Increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease: It’s harder to clean teeth that don’t fit together properly, leading to oral health problems.
  • Increased risk of teeth breaking or severe wear: When an open bite exists the patient will only chew and wear the few teeth that are touching which increases tooth wear and the chance of tooth loss due to fracture.
  • Diminished self-esteem: Many individuals feel self-conscious about their smile due to an open bite.
Patient with Open Bite - Before
Open Bite Before
Patient with Open Bite - After
Open Bite After

How Foley & Le Transforms Open Bites into Healthy Smiles

We personalize treatment plans to correct open bites, carefully considering your unique needs and the severity of your case. We offer several effective treatment options:.

Orthognathic Surgery

  • How it works: This corrective jaw surgery focuses on repositioning your upper and/or lower jaw bones to achieve optimal bite alignment. It is performed under general anesthesia in the hospital, so you’ll be comfortable and pain-free. The surgeon makes incisions inside your mouth, carefully accessing the jaw bones without leaving visible scars on your face. This precise realignment corrects your bite and improves facial symmetry, improving both chewing and speech function.
  • Ideal for: Severe open bites or cases where the underlying cause is a misalignment of the jaw bones themselves.

Combination Treatment (Orthodontics + Surgery):

  • The Process: We work along with your orthodontist to combine surgery with your orthodontic treatment.
  • Ideal for: Complex cases where both dental and skeletal factors contribute to the open bite.

Choosing the Right Treatment: The Key to Your Success

The best treatment option for your open bite depends on the severity of your case and the underlying cause. Our experienced team at Foley & Le Oral Surgery will conduct a thorough evaluation, including diagnostic imaging and a comprehensive exam, to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you.

Your Journey to a Healthier Smile With Foley & Le

An open bite is more than a cosmetic concern. It’s a condition that can significantly impact your quality of life and is considered a true disability. 

If you or a loved one has an open bite, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation at Foley & Le Oral Surgery. We’ll create a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve a healthy, functional, and beautiful smile that you’ll be proud to show off.

If you are searching for an ‘oral surgeon in Boulder, CO’ or an ‘oral surgeon near me’, contact Foley and Le Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons. Call (303) 444-2255 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form. 


Can Invisalign fix an open bite?

Yes, Invisalign can effectively correct mild open bites. However, for more severe cases or those involving skeletal discrepancies, traditional braces or a combination of orthodontics and jaw surgery may be the best approach.

How long does it take to correct an open bite?

Treatment time varies depending on the severity of your open bite and the chosen treatment approach. Orthodontic treatment typically takes 12–24 months, while combined orthodontic and surgical treatment can take longer.

Is open bite surgery painful?

We perform jaw surgery under general anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. Post-operative discomfort is manageable with pain medication.

Skip to content