If my front teeth are straight, why should I be concerned about how my teeth fit together?
Things are not always as they appear. We all know people who from the outside look healthy, but who internally are battling a chronic illness. Likewise, you may be interested to learn that even if your front teeth are straight, there can be a problem with how all your teeth fit together – a problem that can be bad for your overall oral health.
When the Bite’s Not Right
Think about gears. Their “teeth” are engineered to fit together in a specific way to perform a specific task. If they don’t fit together in the right way, the gears can’t do their jobs. It’s the same with your teeth. Upper and lower teeth are meant to fit in a certain way with their counterparts in the opposite jaw. If the fit is off, the bite is not right – even if the front teeth look straight. If the bad bite is not corrected, the stage is being set for potential problems.
The Goal of Orthodontic Treatment
The true goal of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite so you can bite and chew food efficiently and comfortably. Teeth that work better tend to look better too. The beautiful smile is a pleasant side effect of treatment.
A healthy bite is achieved by repositioning teeth within the jaw bones, and ensuring they meet as intended to allow for biting and chewing.
The following bite problems can be difficult to see because often times the front teeth are straight:
- An underbite (or anterior crossbite) – when the top teeth are positioned behind the bottom teeth
- An open bite – when the back teeth are closed, but the front teeth don’t meet, or when the front teeth meet, but the back teeth don’t touch
- A deep bite – when top teeth completely cover the bottom teeth
- A crossbite – when the bottom teeth are outside of the top teeth
If an improper bite is not treated, problems develop. Premature wear of teeth and chipping of teeth is a very common problem. Jaw joint problems can develop. There is a higher risk of cavities. All of this can make it difficult to eat and talk.