What is an ideal bite?
Most people book an orthodontic consultation to straighten their teeth, but did you know that orthodontists can also fix your bite? In fact, it’s one of the most important aspects of orthodontic treatment.
No, we’re not talking about the way you chew your food, we’re talking about the way your top and bottom teeth fit together inside your mouth for the dental “occlusion”.
Unfortunately, not many people are born with a perfect bite. For many people, this is not a huge issue but for some, a bad bite or “malocclusion” can lead to excessive and uneven tooth wear, jaw joint pain, muscle problems and headaches.
How are the teeth supposed to line up?
So, what does an ideal bite look like?
Human teeth are designed to fit together almost perfectly in a very specific pattern. When an orthodontist evaluates your bite, they will look at it from three different angles; the front, the side, and the full arch view.
Let’s explore each angle in a little more detail:
The front view of your teeth is what you will see in the mirror while scrubbing your pearly whites in the morning. In an ideal bite, the edges of your top teeth should follow the curve of your bottom lip. When your teeth are clenched together, about 90% of your bottom teeth should be visible.
A ‘deep bite’ occurs when your upper teeth cover too much of your bottom teeth, which can lead to tooth wear and damage. While an ‘open bite’ occurs when your front teeth don’t overlap at all and there is only contact on the back teeth.
Examining your bite from the right or left side may be difficult to do by yourself. Your teeth should meet together like cogs in a wheel. The pointed ends of the upper teeth should fit perfectly between two teeth on the bottom, while the upper teeth should sit slightly in front of your lower teeth.
If the lower teeth sit in front of the upper teeth, this is commonly called a ‘reverse’ or “under” bite, and if the lower teeth sit too far behind the top teeth, this is commonly called an “overbite”.
An arch view is a little more difficult to define. It’s what you see when you open your mouth wide open and look at the top of your lower teeth or the bottom of your upper teeth. From this angle, each tooth should be touching the one next to it, with no spacing in between.
Are front teeth supposed to be longer?
In an ideal bite, a person’s two front teeth will generally be longer than their bottom teeth. The aesthetics of proportion plays a part as well. Known in dentistry as the 78 percent width-length ratio, research shows that front teeth that are 1.29 times longer than they are wide are considered more aesthetically pleasing.
Why is an ideal bite important?
Having properly aligned teeth isn’t just about enhancing your smile, it’s also about improving your oral health, and reducing your risk of common dental problems such as tooth wear, tooth decay and gum disease. A specialist orthodontist will examine your bite as well as the cosmetic appearance of your teeth and then provide the best advice for you and your smile. Find a specialist orthodontist by using our Finder Tool today.