How to Tell if You Have a Bad Bite
by Dr. Amer Hussain, on Oct 6, 2019 2:46:00 PM
We know your first thought must be “What do you mean if my bite is normal?”, and we get it does sound a litttle weird but it’s actually possible for your bite to be misaligned. There’s a high chance you’ve heard of overbites and underbites but did you know there’s 4 types of misaligned bites?
Since you’re already here (and mostly likely not leaving) let’s start at the beginning: Why is a normal bite even important?
The way the chompers fit together
When we say bite, what we’re talking about is the way your upper and lower jaw come together. Your upper teeth should fit slightly over your lower teeth and the points of your molars should fit the grooves of the opposite molar. If your jaw lines up like this, you most likely have a healthy bite.
When you have a healthy bite it improves the function of your teeth, it also balances your teeth. If you bite is misaligned it can add even pressure on certain teeth which can wear them down unevenly.
Bite function is also important for a number of things such as chewing, swallowing, breathing, facial symmetry, digestion and more.
3 signs of a good bite
- Pain free
You shouldn’t be experiencing any pain in your bite, if you do have some pain in your jawbone or in the muscles around your jaw, this can be an indicator of a misaligned bite.
If your teeth are aligned with each other and symmetrical on the upper and lower jaw line, this is a good sign that your bite is healthy. Your teeth were designed to offset the force of each other, think of them as gears in a machine. If one gear is off, it can cause problems for the whole machine.
Biting and chewing is a damage-causing activity, and if the teeth in your mouth aren’t aligned either, the force will be applied to your jaw and teeth instead of the food your chewing.
Your tongue can be a great indicator of a bad bite. If your bite isn’t aligned, there is a high chance your tongue may be getting cut or nicked on the sides, which can lead to open sores that are more likely to get infected.
Now, onto what constitutes a bad bite
So if you ever heard the term malocclusion, it literally means bad bite in Latin. There are plenty of signs that will help indicate you may have a bad bite and we’ll go through them in just a second but first we’re going to address what might cause a bad bite.
Malocclusions can be caused by:
- Difference in the size of your upper and lower jaw
- Difference in the size of of your teeth
- Lost teeth, extra teeth or impacted teeth
- Birth defects, like cleft palates
- Misalignment of jaw repair after an injury
- Childhood habits like thumb sucking, extended pacifier use or tongue thrusting
Now we understand what can cause a bad bite, what are the different type of bad bites?
When it comes to the types of bad bites, generally speaking there are four kinds: overbite, underbite, crossbite and open bite.
Overbite - While there should be some overlap of your lower front teeth, in some cases an increased overbite can cause your front teeth to bite down onto your gums.
Crossbite - This is where your upper teeth kinda sit inside of your lower teeth, it can happen on one side or both sides of the jaw.
Underbite - This is where your lower jaw comes over your top teeth
Open bite - An open bite is when the front teeth don’t overlap the bottom teeth at all, the back molar don’t touch so the mouth is never in a resting position.
What would be the signs that your have a bad bite?For some people it might be obvious that you have a bad bite, but for others the signs may not be as noticeable. Some of the telltale signs include:
The temporomandibular joint is a joint present on each side of your face that hinges your lower jaw to your skull. This particular joint plays a huge role in helping your jaw have the necessary range (so think it affects the motion of speaking, yawning but most importantly chewing).
Symptoms of TMJ include pain when you move your jaw, stiffness, soreness and clicking noises when you open and close your mouth.
Headaches may not seem like a flashing sign of a misaligned bite since headaches can be caused by a variety of things but they are a symptom.
When your bite is out of alignment, it’s very possible for the muscles that move your jaw to be very tense and strained. This built up tension can headaches that range from mild to severe.
Now, this isn’t a symptom that everyone will have but for some it definitely will be. It’s worth noting, for most patients once you correct your jaw with an orthodontic appliance, your trouble speaking will alleviate.
If you are having trouble pronouncing or enunciating certain words because of stiffness in your jaw, this is a good indicator of a misaligned bite.
Grinding your teeth
Teeth grinding is a serious issue that can have bad consequences for your smile, if you grind your teeth can lead to pain in your jaw and headaches as well.
The technical name for teeth grinding is bruxism, and is more likely to happen to people whose bite just don’t meet right. The stress that is put on the jaw because of the misalignment can make grinding more likely.
Your dentist takes notice
This is kind of the last flashing signs, your dentist make notice during your check up if something isn’t quite fitting right. Your dentist’s trained eye may be able to spot teeth that aren’t fitting together right, even if your smile doesn’t look bad.
Your dentist will also be able to tell you if your teeth are wearing down unevenly, if you have misaligned bite your teeth may be wearing down unevenly. After you bite is corrected you’ll be able to have a balanced bite and the wearing of your teeth will be corrected as well.
How do fixed a bad bite?
So aligning your jaw can only be done with orthodontic intervention, generally speaking fixing a misaligned bite is a complex job so clear aligners like Invisalign aren’t really ideal. Braces are the best bet when it comes to having enough pressure on the teeth to realign the jaw, this is usually executed by the elastics.
But the best way to know indefinitely if you have a bad bite is to consult an orthodontist. Orthodontists are the only specialists that can align your teeth, jaw, mouth and face.
If you think your bite might be off after reading this article, book your free consultation to get your jaw assessed today!