At The Sugar House Dentist in Salt Lake City, we often refer to an “ideal bite.” What does that mean? One definition of the word ideal is “an ultimate standard of perfection.” Perfection is a pretty tall order. So, what, exactly, is an ideal bite?
The briefest definition we can offer is this: teeth that are properly aligned. Properly aligned teeth allow for proper chewing and swallowing, as well as healthy gums and oral tissues. And that is ideal.
Unfortunately, few of us have properly aligned teeth without corrective measures. It’s tempting to just live with improperly aligned teeth, and many people do. But improperly aligned teeth can lead to tooth and jaw pain, joint and muscle problems, and headaches. They can also distract from an otherwise elegant face.
When we look at a patient’s bite, we evaluate it from three different views: the front, the top and bottom, and the sides. Let’s consider each of these.
Front View. This, as you might guess, is what people see when they’re in front of you, or when you look into a mirror. What we look for are the edges of the upper front teeth lining up parallel with the lower lip as you smile.
When you bite down, there should be a small amount of overlap: the very top portion of the lower teeth should be covered by the upper front teeth. If they overlap too much, it’s an overbite. The upper teeth (aka the upper arch) should be a little bit wider than the lower. If not, it may be a crossbite.
Arch View. This is the view when you open wide and see the tops of the bottom teeth, and the bottoms of the top teeth. (You’re looking in a mirror, of course.) In an ideal bite, all the teeth are aligned and touching, with no overlaps or gaps.
Side View. When we look at your teeth from the side, there should be a very slight overlap of the upper front teeth over the lower front teeth. If the upper front teeth rest right on top of the lowers, or behind them, it is called an underbite.
Many of these issues can be corrected with the increasingly popular clear braces from Invisalign, available here at The Sugar House Dentiste in Salt Lake City. We can replace missing teeth with dental implants, and treat receding gums. Schedule an appointment with us today.