Dental Occlusion Defined
Dental occlusion is the contact between the upper and lower teeth upon closing the jaws.
Ideal dental occlusion is the perfect interdigitation between the upper and lower teeth with slight overlap of the upper teeth outside the lower teeth.
Dental malocclusion is any altered positioning of the upper or lower teeth from ideal occlusion. Causes of malocclusion vary and may include open mouth posture, altered tongue and lip posture, and/or abnormal growth of the jaws and/or facial bones.
An openbite is a malocclusion in which the upper and lower teeth are not in contact with each other upon closing of the jaws. An openbite can occur between the front (anterior), side (lateral), and/or back (posterior) teeth and can make chewing and swallowing difficult and inefficient.
This form of malocclusion can occur when the position of the upper teeth lose their normal overlap relationship with the matching teeth of the lower jaw. This can result when the lower teeth are positioned outside (away from the tongue) of the upper teeth or the upper teeth are positioned inside (toward the tongue) of the lower teeth. A crossbite can occur at a single tooth location or an entire quadrant of the dental arch and will cause asymmetrical forces throughout the jaw and face. This can result in temporomandibular joint dysfunction and headaches.