The way your teeth bite together can affect a great many things. Patients with crowding or misaligned teeth may be more susceptible to develop premature wear, periodontal disease (gum disease) and TMJ disorders. Even if the teeth in the front of your mouth appear to be straight and aesthetically pleasing, the alignment of the back teeth is important as well.
There are several aspects of your bite that your dentist will evaluate during your first appointment, or after changes in dentition (such as the loss or extraction of a tooth). If you receive orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will also conduct regular bite assessments to determine what type of progress your treatment is making. The main types of bite classifications are:
Class 1: A healthy biting relationship. Minor crowding can be present, but the molars are biting together properly.
Class 2: The bottom teeth are farther back compared to the upper teeth when biting together. This appears as an overbite or short jaw.
Class 3: The bottom teeth are farther forward compared to the upper teeth when biting together. This appears as an under-bite.
In addition to the classification of bites, there are other bite problems that your dentist checks for, such as:
All of these different aspects of your bite affect how efficient your tooth function is and will be for the time to come. While orthodontic therapy can help correct many of these situations, preventive dental care is also important. For example, premature loss of a tooth can cause drifting of the other teeth if a space maintainer or replacement tooth is not put into place. If you have concerns with your bite, ask your dentist or hygienist to assess it at your next dental visit.
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