When you think of oral health, you probably think about brushing your teeth, flossing, or having a straight smile. But you may be forgetting something important: having a healthy bite. When it comes to your smile and oral health, your bite is crucial. Read more below!
WHAT IS A HEALTHY BITE?
When your orthodontist talks to you about your bite, they are referring to the way that your upper and lower teeth fit together. For a healthy bite, your upper teeth should be just in front of your bottom teeth with your top and bottom molars fitting comfortably against each other. Your mouth’s dental arch (the curve of your teeth along your mouth) should form a “U” shape. When your teeth do not fit correctly and your bite is not properly aligned into this shape, it is called a malocclusion.
COMMON BITE COMPLICATIONS
Your bite is complicated. It involves bones, teeth, gums, and muscles that all work together to allow you to eat, drink, talk, and smile. Crooked teeth can be a cause and a symptom of bite problems. However, beneath the surface, your bite can also be impacted by the structure and length of your jaw bones. There are three main types of malocclusions, each of which is identified by how the upper and lower jaws and teeth are positioned.
These three varieties include:
- Class 1: Your upper teeth slightly overlap your lower teeth. This is normal.
- Class 2: Your upper jaw and upper teeth severely overlap the lower jaw and teeth (overbite)
- Class 3: Your lower teeth and jaw heavily overlap the upper teeth and jaw (underbite)
Each of these forms of malocclusion can lead to a number of complications, depending on their severity. For instance, an underbite can make chewing and biting more challenging. It can also lead to the development of a TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder), which causes pain in your jaw joint. On the other hand, an overbite may put front teeth at risk for injury, while a crossbite may reduce your ability to chew properly.
Overall, misaligned bites can negatively impact your quality of life, causing:
- Chipped teeth
- Speech difficulties
- Jaw pain
- Abnormal appearance
- Tooth crowding
- Difficulty chewing
ACHIEVING A HEALTHY BITE
While teeth are one of the most visible aspects of your smile, having a healthy bite allows your teeth to function properly. Correcting a malocclusion can prevent crowding, gum disease, and tooth wear problems in the future while also improving jaw problems such as TMJD. By using braces, clear aligners, and other appliances, Dr. Hutta and Dr. Price will be able to help improve your bite, reduce uncomfortable symptoms, and prevent future problems.
Have concerns about your bite? Our experts are ready to help talk you through your treatment options. Schedule a free consultation to get your bite into shape!