Many patients are referred to an orthodontist because their “bite is off.” What does it mean when your dentist says that you have an “abnormal” or “imperfect” bite? What is a perfect bite? Read on to learn what an ideal bite looks like, and how Dr. Dougherty can help you achieve a perfect smile.
What Is a Perfect Bite Vs. an Abnormal Bite?
When Dr. Dougherty evaluates your bite, she’s going to look at your teeth from three different views: the front, the top and bottom, and the sides.
The front view is what you see when you look in the mirror. In a perfect bite, the edges of the upper front teeth should line up parallel to the lower lip when smiling. When your bite is closed, about one-half to two-thirds of the length of the bottom teeth should be visible. If they overlap too much in the vertical direction, you have a deep bite (a.k.a. overbite). The upper arch should be slightly wider than the lower arch, and the upper teeth should all sit on the outside of the lower teeth when biting down. If they do not, you likely have a crossbite. Ideally, the upper and lower midlines between your central incisors (a.k.a. front teeth) should line up evenly with the middle of your lips.
The arch view is what you see when you open wide and look down on the tops of your lower teeth, or look up at the bottoms of your upper teeth. (You may need a hand-held mirror.) From this view, each row of teeth should be aligned in a nice, even curve like the St. Louis Arch. In a perfect bite, all of the teeth will be touching—without any overlapping or space between them.
When looking at your bite from the side, the backs of your upper front teeth should rest gently in front of the lower teeth. If the edges of your upper teeth bite directly on or behind the edges of your lower incisors, you have an abnormal bite called an underbite. If your upper teeth stick out too far in front of your lower incisors, you have excess overjet. From the side view, all of the top teeth should fit in between the bottom teeth, like gears in a wheel.
Click here for more information and photos of common bite problems in growing children—including underbite, deep bite, crossbite, and open bite.
How to Achieve a Perfect Smile
All of the bite issues mentioned above, as well as other orthodontic issues, can be addressed through orthodontic treatment. Dr. Dougherty may use braces and/or other orthodontic appliances to help you achieve a perfect and beautiful smile!
If you have any more questions—like “What is a perfect bite?” or “Do braces hurt?” or “What is the best age for braces?”—browse our blog. Ready to achieve the perfect bite? Contact us. Call our office at 636.825.1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dougherty.