Preventing Tooth Decay To Maintain Healthy Teeth

3 Non-Surgical Treatments For Moderate Posterior Open Bite

If you have a posterior open bite, the upper and lower molars in the back of your mouth don't meet up vertically when the jaw closes. While anterior open bites are often caused by forceful tongue thrusting, the rare posterior form is thought to arise from improperly erupting rear teeth.

A posterior open bite can make it uncomfortable to hold your mouth close and might also change the structure of your face. Severe cases require surgery to close the gap but there are a few nonsurgical treatments for those with moderate open bite.

Here are some treatments to discuss with your orthodontist or cosmetic dentist during your next visit.


Mini-implants, formally called temporary anchorage devices, are a way for the orthodontist to stabilize toothless areas before using the force of braces to move existing teeth.

Mini-implants are small metal screws that are inserted into the jawbone. Their name comes to a resemblance to the artificial root of dental implants. Unlike dental implants, the mini-implants are intended to be temporary and will be removed once orthodontic treatment is complete.

In the case of a posterior open bite, the implants might be placed where removed wisdom teeth were or in any locations where rear teeth were lost due to decay or trauma.

The implants keep the rear teeth from scooting too far back in the mouth while orthodontic treatment is underway. Missing teeth can also cause the existing teeth to lean into the hole and cause a crossbite while the open bite is being corrected. 


For mild-moderate open bite problems, its possible that the orthodontist will use clear braces for at least part of the treatment. These custom-fitted trays slowly apply pressure to move your teeth back into place. You get a new tray periodically after the dentist evaluates your current progress.

Moderate open bites on the more severe end will likely require traditional metal braces. That's so the dentist can apply enough force through the use of rubber bands. Correcting the open bite is also a long process, which would require a great number of clear brace fittings. Metal braces might prove the easiest option.


After the orthodontic treatment is complete, you will likely have to wear a retainer regularly. The retainer ensures the bite doesn't open back up due to tongue pressure or shifting teeth. You might only have to wear the retainer at night when it won't be a cosmetic concern.

If you have a posterior open bite, consult with your general dentist and orthodontist soon to understand your treatment options. Catching the bite problem when you're fairly young should make the treatment process more tolerable and the aftercare retainer more effective.