A healthy bite refers to how a person’s upper and lower teeth come together. Ideally, the upper teeth should fit slightly over the lower teeth, and the molars should line up so that the points of each molar fit into the grooves of their counterparts. Why is this important? Bad bite relation is a signifier of temporomandibular joint disorder and can contribute to other issues such as mouth breathing and sleep apnea.
Bad Bite Relation
An unhealthy bite, or malocclusion, might look like an overbite or underbite and usually signify improper jaw development. Generally speaking, these are the two most familiar types of improper dental alignment, but there are actually two others.
- Overbite is the alignment that shows the top row of teeth overlapping the bottom row more than is optimal. This can be a result of an underdeveloped jaw or a dysfunctional TMJ.
- Crossbite is the alignment where the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth, which can happen on one side or both sides of the jaw.
- Underbite occurs when the lower jaw comes over the top of the teeth.
- Open bite is the lack of vertical overlap between the top and bottom teeth.
What Factors Contribute to Bite Alignment?
Bite alignment is affected by several genetic and environmental factors. The most common factors to impact a person’s bite alignment include:
- Differences in the size of the upper and lower jaw
- Differences in the size of a person’s teeth
- Lost, extra, or impacted teeth
- Birth defects, such as a cleft palate
- Misalignment of the jaw after an injury
- Behavioral factors such as childhood thumb sucking, extended pacifier use, or tongue thrust, which is the habit of pushing the tongue forward when swallowing
What Can Be Done For People With an Unhealthy Bite?
Because an unhealthy bite can contribute to temporomandibular joint disorder, mouth breathing, and sleep apnea, it’s important to have these issues treated as soon as possible. Dr. Wallace offers several treatment options for patients depending on the kind of bite relation they have. Some examples of bad bite relation treatments include:
- Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)
- Controlled Arch Orthodontics
- Restorative Dentistry
Find a Healthier Bite With Palmetto Smiles of Beaufort
Dr. Wallace has years of dental experience, from treating service members in the US Navy to everyday patients in South Carolina. Finding a better, more functional bite relation can do wonders for your self-esteem, physical appearance, and functionality of your smile while mitigating the potential for developing a more serious issue such as sleep apnea or TMD. Call to schedule a consultation in Beaufort, SC today by calling our offices at (843) 410-0345 or fill out a form on our contact page.