Openbites result when the upper and lower teeth do not overlap or
make tooth contact. Anterior openbites result in only the posterior
teeth making contact. Posterior or lateral openbites are where the
side or back teeth do not meet and only the front teeth make tooth contact.
Openbites in children or adolescents can be the result of enlarged
tonsils and adenoids or allergies which lead to mouthbreathing,
oral habits such as tongue thrust or finger sucking and excessive
vertical facial growth. In adults, most openbites have resulted
from an inherited tendency for excessive vertical facial growth.
Consequences of openbites are mouthbreathing resulting in gum
disease, excessive wear on the back or front teeth, inefficient
chewing and misalignment and damage to the jaw joints.
Treatment of openbites in children with habits can be successful
if the habit is discouraged early in development. Also, alterations in vertical facial
growth can be achieved with orthodontic appliances. In adults,
some openbites can be corrected with orthodontic braces alone but
in many cases, jaw surgery will be required to correct the openbite
and achieve a balanced occlusion.