European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 158–158 | Cite as

Management of severe posterior open bite due to primary failure of eruption

  • J. Mc CaffertyEmail author
  • E. Al Awadi
  • A. C. O’Connell
Case Report


BACKGROUND: Primary failure of tooth eruption (PFE) is a rare condition affecting any or all posterior quadrants. Unilateral involvement of maxillary and mandibular quadrants causes a dramatic posterior open bite that requires complex management strategies. CASE REPORT: An 8 year-old boy attended the Dublin Dental School and Hospital regarding infra-occlusion of his right maxillary and mandibular primary molars. Both right first permanent molars had also failed to erupt. All permanent teeth were present radiographically. Facial appearance and soft tissues were normal and oral function was not affected. The patient had no significant medical history and his siblings had no similar dental abnormalities. TREATMENT: The infra-occluded right first and second primary molars were extracted, and the right first permanent molars were surgically exposed. FOLLOW UP: Eruption of the premolars and molars was monitored over the next 2 years. The premolars showed signs of eruption and continued root development. Exfoliation of the remaining primary teeth proceeded as usual. The right first permanent molars did not erupt and were subsequently extracted. Continued eruption of the canines and premolars reduced the inter-arch separation. A removable tongue shield appliance was suggested but declined by the patient. At age 13 years, orthodontic extrusion was used to further reduce the inter-dental distance between the canine and premolars. The reduction was from 5 mm to 1.5 mm between the right first premolars and from 10 mm to 5 mm between the right second premolars. Extrusion of the canine teeth was also attempted to improve the smile line. The canine extruded 1mm to give a 2mm overlap. There were no changes in centric occlusion and the midline was unaffected. In the 2 years since orthodontic treatment, the spaces have reopened slightly to 3 mm between first premolars and 6 mm between second premolars. The patient is now aged 16 years and is aware that an improved aesthetic smile line may be achieved by use of onlay restorations. CONCLUSION: In this unique case, a profound unilateral posterior open bite occurred due to primary failure of eruption of the maxillary and mandibular teeth on the affected side. Orthodontic therapy was used to modify the position of the permanent canines and premolars to reduce the posterior open bite.

Key words

Primary failure of eruption posterior open bite Pediatric dentistry 


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Copyright information

© Adis International 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Mc Cafferty
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. Al Awadi
    • 1
  • A. C. O’Connell
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Public and Child Dental HealthDublin Dental School and HospitalDublin 2Ireland

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