You probably have a good idea of what a perfect smile looks like, right? But you might be less familiar with what an IDEAL BITE looks like. In fact, patients are sometimes surprised to learn they even have a bite problem.
What Does “Bite” mean in dentistry?
Your bite refers to the relationship between the teeth in the upper jaw and the teeth in the lower jaw and how they fit together.
With a normal, or ideal, bite, the top and bottom teeth meet in a comfortable way that distributes bite forces properly and promotes harmony in the entire chewing system.
What Does an Ideal Bite Look Like?
While visiting an orthodontist is the only way to determine whether or not your bite is aligned, you could for sure get a general idea by looking at your teeth in the mirror.
If you bring your upper and lower teeth together when viewed from the front:
- The top front teeth should cover about 20% of the length of the lower front teeth.
- The upper midline (the line between the top front teeth) should be in the center of the upper lip.
When viewed from the side:
- All of the upper teeth should bite slightly outside of the lower teeth
- The cusps, or points, of the top teeth, should fit between two bottom teeth
If you were to open wide and look at your entire upper and lower arch:
- The teeth in each arch should follow an even curve
- Each tooth should gently touch its neighbor without overlapping or having spaces in between
- The upper arch should be a tiny bit wider than the lower arch
Why is Having a Healthy Bite Important?
When you have crooked teeth or a discrepancy in jaw size that interferes with the bite, it can cause a number of complications.
Having a healthy bite on the other hand:
- Makes teeth easier to clean, reducing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Distributes chewing forces correctly, helping you avoid breakage and uneven enamel wear.
- Allows you to bite into foods and chew properly.
- Makes teeth less susceptible to injury (protruding teeth are in harm’s way)
- Encourages facial symmetry and improves your appearance
- Prevents undue stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and chewing muscles, alleviating TMJ pain, facial pain, and headaches
- May help with teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism)
- Can promote a healthy airway and proper breathing
- Lets you speak clearly
- Keeps the jawbone healthy and strong
What is Malocclusion?
Now that you know what an ideal bite looks like, let’s talk about the opposite: Malocclusion. translates literally to “bad bite.” When you have malocclusion, whether due to the teeth, the jaw, or both, the upper and lower arches don’t come together properly.
Whether you are already aware of the fact that you have a bite alteration or if you feel that your bite is not well adjusted, we will always advise you to get a routine Orthodontic Consultation to understand what exactly your bite situation is, and if needed we will evaluate the possible treatment options for your specific case.
Feel always free to contact us and we will be more than happy to help you arrange your “Orthodontic Consultation” appointment.
…Ftom Dr. Maria Isabel and all the rest of the Dental Team at SMILE STUDIOS