Dental Bite Relationships

Very few people are born with a perfect dental bite, what dentists call The Biological Dental Model. The Biological Dental Model is based on the perfect human model. It was not designed by man. Only about 30 to 40 percent of the population has a perfect bite. Today, Dr. Fondriest explains the difference between a good bite and a bad bite.

What Is A Perfect Bite?

A perfect bite is when your teeth are in alignment with no crowding, spacing, twisted, or rotated teeth. Your top teeth slightly overlap your bottom teeth. The points of your top molars should fit into the grooves of your bottom molars like puzzle pieces. When your jaw is at rest your lips should be touching but not your teeth. Your teeth should only touch while chewing and swallowing.  The alignment of your teeth is called occlusion. Anything that deviates from the perfect bite is called malocclusion.

Your chewing system, which is made up of your teeth, muscles, tongue, jaw joint, etc., works in complete harmony when you have a good bite. Your muscles are relaxed, your jaw joint stable, and your teeth are protected by your lips. A good bite causes no strain or pain on the jaw joint and muscles, no tooth wear, gum recession or bone loss. Your chewing system is in a healthy state. A bad bite, however, causes destructive forces on your chewing system and can cause more problems and pain than the most common dental problems, tooth decay and periodontal disease.

What Is A Bad Bite?

It is estimated that 90 percent of school-aged children have malocclusion, and while most people, including adults, have some degree of malocclusion, it doesn’t disrupt their lives and therefore isn’t serious enough to warrant treatment.  The various types of malocclusion include but are not limited to:

  • Overjet: Overjet is another name for an overbite. With an overjet or overbite, the upper teeth “jet” out over the lower jaw. It is also referred to as “buck teeth.” About 70 percent of the population has some degree of an overbite.
  • Underbite: The opposite of an overjet, the teeth in the lower jaw protrude past the teeth in the upper jaw.  The underbite is less common than the overbite affecting 5 to 10 percent of the population.
  • Crossbite: A crossbite occurs when both the upper and lower jaw are misaligned and is characterized by the upper teeth biting on the inside of the lower teeth. A person is considered to have a cross bite whether it involves only one tooth or a group of teeth.
  • Deep Bite: When a bite is deep, the upper teeth protrude so far over the bottom teeth that the bottom teeth touch the tissue at the top of the mouth. This can cause irritation of the upper palate.  

Results Of A Bad Bite

Malocclusion can lead to jaw joint, teeth, muscle, bone, nerve, and even functional and cosmetic problems.

Joint: Joint problems are characterized by pain in front of one or both ears that may radiate deep into the ear like an earache; stiffness, popping, locking, clicking, or grinding of the jaw joints.

Teeth: Tooth pain; loose teeth; tooth loss; sensitive teeth; worn, shortened, chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth.

Muscle: Headache upon waking; muscle spasms; neck pain or stiffness; sore, achy, or tired jaw.

Bone: Receding gums (gums that pull away from the teeth), bone loss around the front and back teeth (horizontal bone loss), deterioration of the supporting jaw bone structure.

Nerve: Sharp or radiating pains in teeth, jaw, head, neck, and shoulders.

Cosmetic: Deepening of wrinkles in lower part of face, droopy smile, sore spots on corners of mouth, thin lips, collapsed bite which is when the teeth disappear behind your lips.

Functional: Difficulty chewing and swallowing.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist:

Aside from providing expert general and cosmetic dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds highly-respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve the Chicago metropolitan area including the North Shore and Northwest suburbs. To schedule your consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.

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