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Ideal Jaw Alignment

Dundas Dental

The invention of cutlery, knives and forks in the West, chopstick in the East, changed the way we eat, and apparently the way our jaws align. Several centuries ago the top and lower jaws of humans usually met so that the front teeth touched. But since the use of cutlery the lower teeth usually sit behind the front teeth. This is because we once used our teeth to bite all of our food, like we still do with an apple. Jaws that met at the front were useful for this. Now we eat pre-cut food, so our jaws align slightly differently.

This change to cutlery is not the only explanation for the change in our jaws. The eating and chewing of slightly tough food apparently alters out jaws too, causing them to grow slightly more forward. Perhaps the change in our jaws is the combination of both factors.

We might expect this jaw change to cause problems. But this very slight overbite is fine. Our jaws suffer the minimal wear if they are not leaning to one side, and if they have the slight overbite. So this is regarded as the new ideal.

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If our jaws are not aligned correctly there will be problems. misaligned jaws can make chewing and speaking difficult. And over time the teeth tend to wear unevenly.

Overbite – while slight overbite is normal a more extreme overbite needs correction. This can sometimes be done with braces as a teenager, sometime by combining braces with headgear, sometime by surgery in extreme cases.
Occasionally veneers can be used to bring the teeth slightly forward, removing the overbite.

Underbite – This is where the bottom jaw comes too far forward. Like overbite the less extreme cases may be cured with braces, and more extreme cases altered by surgery.

Crossbite – This is where the lower jaw leans to one side, not neatly meeting with the upper jaw. Crossbite tends to cause uneven wear on teeth that grows worse over time. This may require braces at an earlier stage, or surgery latter on.

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Talk to the dentist about any jaw issues. Early treatment can prevent problems latter on.

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