When we smile, the world primarily sees our front six teeth, but to evaluate a bite based on that first impression would be to ignore the intricacies of the other 26! In this article, our Shawnee KS orthodontist details the complexity of an ideal bite – which involves far more than whether your teeth look straight or not. Aesthetics aside, a proper bite ensures a lifetime of comfortable chewing and prevents premature wear and tear to your teeth.
Back to those front six teeth—the midline of the top two middle teeth should align with the middle of the lips. The midline of your bottom teeth should follow suit as well.
Overbite is defined as the top teeth overlapping the bottom teeth. Underbite is just the opposite, as the lower teeth overlap the top. Ideally, the jaw will be set in a manner that allows for a slight overbite.
A deep bite occurs when the top teeth cover too much of the bottom ones. A bite that is too deep could cause irritation to the bottom gum line as the top teeth rub against it. An open bite, on the other hand, is when the edges of the top and bottom teeth rest against one another. This friction tends to wear down the teeth. The optimal balance would be for the top teeth to cover about 30% of the lower teeth in a relaxed state.
The curvature of the top and bottom teeth should again mirror that of the lips. If the top teeth are curved too much or two little so that the bottom and top teeth “crossover” this is called a crossbite. Optimally, the curve of the top teeth should be large enough to cradle the curve of the bottom.
The top and bottom back teeth are designed to complement each other like a gear or a zipper when biting. Top teeth should be framed in between two bottom teeth. Additionally, regarding spacing, all teeth should sit orderly next to one another without extra spacing or overlap.
While it is important for teeth to rest next to one another, a straight, even line along the edges of all teeth is not necessary for a strong bite. A natural look allows for curves along the edges of each tooth. While some may opt for their edges to be polished for a more refined look, these edits will not improve or detract from your bite.
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to orthodontics, feel free to contact Burleson Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, with a convenient orthodontic office location near Shawnee KS, by clicking here or by calling 816.759.0123.