A beautiful smile...
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Dear Dr. Ted,
A simple question: for a “perfect bite” what is the “normal” relationship between the upper & lower front teeth?
Should the lower front teeth touch the inside of the uppers, or should there be a gap… and if so, how much of a gap?
From that “rest position,” how much should a normal person be able to move their lower jaw backwards?
My lower / upper teeth touch / press together at the front. I can hardly pull my lower jaw back from that position (maybe less than 1 mm). My upper front teeth
cover approx 1/3 of my lowers. Often, at the end of the day, my jaw feels a bit “tired” as I seems to have to “work” to keep my jaw fully closed.
I am a 44 yr old male, and I’m very sure my bite never used to be so “tight”…. I guess tooth wear, and tooth movements over time have changed my bite.
I am just wondering how “normal” my bite is….. is my bite “normal,” or should I get myself inspected?
Dr. Ted Responds
Regarding “THE PERFECT BITE”: I may be “biting off” more than I can chew, and I may also be “mouthing off” a bit too much, however I am certainly going to “sink my teeth” in to answering your question here. It will be fun doing and others may benefit by knowing the answer. Remember, what I am describing here is rarely if ever found in life. It is a virtual perfect bite. . . a text book description of perfect.
In the perfect bite you will have 16 upper teeth and 16 lower teeth free of cavities, fillings and crowns. The lower back teeth will fit “inside” the “line” of the back upper teeth and intermesh precisely with the upper back teeth one half tooth in front of the upper back teeth. The lower front teeth will lightly touch the back of the upper front teeth. No teeth will be misaligned or rotated, nor will there be any observable crowding or spaces of the teeth.
The two “upper front side” teeth will be slightly shorter than the two upper front teeth. The upper and lower canines will be slightly longer than the upper front side teeth. The vertical line between the two upper front teeth will coincide with the mid-line of the face and the vertical mid-line of the lower teeth will coincide with the mid-line of the upper teeth.
When you bring your lower jaw teeth to bite into your upper jaw teeth the bite should feel as if all the teeth touch at the same time with the same pressure.
Your jaw joint should not click, pop, snap or jump, or deviate to one side as you open your mouth.
The upper lip at rest will allow the upper front teeth to show 2-4 millimeters (1/8″). When you slide/grind your teeth the left or right you should be able to move 9-13 mm to the right or left.
When you open your mouth wide you should be able to open it about 3 fingers in width. When you are in a “resting” position (teeth slightly apart, with lips slightly apart), you should be able to move your mouth forward 8-12 mm and all the while your four front teeth are touching each other.
You should be able to slide/grind your teeth/mouth backward about 1-1.5 mm.
With your tongue centered as far back (comfortably) on the roof of your mouth as possible you should be able to bring your teeth all together without first contacting some tooth and then significantly sliding in to your final bite position.
When you bite your teeth firmly together there should be no discomfort in any of your teeth or in your right or left jaws joints, and all lower teeth should hit all upper teeth simultaneously.
It is harmful to your jaw joints and teeth if you are continuously clenching or grinding your teeth together.
When you slide/ grind your teeth forward from the “resting bite” (teeth lightly together, but not clenched), your back teeth should immediately come apart. When you slide/grind your teeth from the resting position to the right or left the upper and lower canine or “eye” teeth should rub across each other and your the teeth on the opposite side of the direction you are sliding to should immediately come totally apart, that is, for example, when you slide/grind your teeth to the right you should have no sense of your back teeth rubbing across each other at the far back left corner of your mouth.
When your jaw is not being held in bite position it should be in a “resting apart” position in which the lower teeth are 2-4 mm “down” (apart) from the upper back teeth.
The normal position of your lower jaw when you are not thinking about it is the “resting apart” position.
I hope this “incisive” description is helpful to you.