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What is an open bite?
An open bite is a type of malocclusion, which means the teeth aren’t aligned properly when the jaws are closed.
Open bite is primarily caused by four factors:
- Thumb or pacifier sucking. When someone sucks on their thumb or a pacifier (or another foreign object like a pencil), they strain the alignment of their teeth. This can cause an open bite.
- Tongue thrusting. An open bite can occur when a person speaks or swallows and pushes their tongue between their upper and lower front teeth. This can also create gaps between teeth.
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ). TMJ disorders cause chronic jaw pain. Sometimes people use their tongue to push their teeth apart and comfortably reposition their jaw, which can cause an open bite.
- Skeletal problem. This occurs when your jaws grow apart as opposed to growing parallel to each other and is often influenced by genetics.
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