Your dental bite, or to be more technical–occlusion–is the way that your teeth come together when you close your mouth and when your jaw moves. For healthy dental bites, your upper and lower jaw bones match in size and are proportionate to your teeth. They align when you close your mouth. Problematic dental bites (also known as malocclusion), are when your teeth and jaw do not function optimally together as one and this results in a variety of dental and aesthetic issues. Unsure if your dental bite is good or not? Dr. Jennifer Yue has broken down the dental bite, so you can stop chomping at the bit and finally understand your dental bite.

Take a Bite Out of This

Like most dental situations, there are different types of dental bites that may be
causing you discomfort or creating an uneven smile. Here are the five types of dental bites:
Overjet – When the top front teeth protrude over the lower front teeth
Overbite – When the top front teeth overlap the bottom front teeth
Jaw relationship – Where the top and bottom molars come into contact with one another
Crossbite – When some or all of teeth fall within the lower arch
Open bite – When teeth don’t fully come in contact and leave an opening

Additionally, these dental bites can be caused by skeletal or dental problems.

Skeletal problems include:

  • If one or both of your jaw bones overgrow
  • If one of both of your jaw bones is underdeveloped
  • An altered arch formation caused by thumbsucking, tongue thrusting, mouth breathing or
  • An anterior open bite

In contrast, dental problems include:

  • If teeth are too small or big for your jaw
  • If teeth are not aligned properly
  • If your jaw is not aligned properly
  • If there are too many teeth
  • If you have lost or are missing teeth, or have worn down teeth

A Bite of Reality
The reality is that a bad dental bite can cause a slew of dental issues. Not only can your dental bite impact your smile, but it can also cause the following physical symptoms:

  • Facial pain
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain in the neck and/or back
  • Sore gums
  • Tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth mobility