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FAQ:  Open Bite

My son, age 20 years, has an open bite. He only bites on his wisdom teeth. He is unable to bite down in front. He had braces. They were taken off about 7 years ago. He now wears a bite plate. He also grinds his teeth at night. What do you suggest? ...Visitor from NY

If your son is only contacting on the back wisdom teeth and had been contacting on all of the teeth at one time then there are a number of reasons for this.

The bite plate may not cover the wisdom teeth and through long term use the wisdom teeth have super-erupted and now when the bite plate is removed they are the only teeth touching.

There can be some type of destructive process going on inside the joint which is making the condyle (the area of the mandible bone which attaches the jaw to the base of the skull) dissolve and become shorter which will shift the bite to the back teeth.

These are just some of the reasons that this condition may exist. Please be advised that your son should see a dentist (an orthodontist, Oral Surgeon, or a TMJ dentist would be best) to have this condition diagnosed and treated if needed.

Editorial Staff

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