My Top and Bottom Teeth Touch When I Speak

Did you know that your upper and lower teeth should never make contact? Never, at any time!

The Different Types of Teeth in Your Mouth

Your mouth contains four types of teeth. The incisors are located in the front and are used for biting food. Next are the cuspids, also known as canines or “eyeteeth,” which tear food apart. The bicuspids or premolars are situated in the middle and are responsible for chewing food. Lastly, the molars at the back of your mouth grind food into tiny pieces, aiding the digestion process with enzymes.

Even when you’re eating, your teeth shouldn’t touch each other. When you bite or chew, the teeth are merely breaking down the food, not touching each other.

The Importance of Freeway Space

Throughout the rest of your daily life, there should always be a small amount of space between your teeth. This space, called freeway space, exists when the main large chewing muscles on the sides of your face, known as the masseters and temporalis, are at rest.

Try saying “M and M’s” out loud several times, and then relax your mouth. You’ll notice that you can gently bring your lips together, but there should always be a slight gap between your upper and lower teeth.

Many people, approximately one-third of the population, habitually keep their teeth together and touching, resulting in muscle contraction.

They mistakenly believe that this is a normal or correct position.

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The Negative Consequences

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Keeping your chewing muscles contracted and your teeth in contact is often a response to stress, similar to nail-biting, excessive drinking, drug use, or overeating.

Sometimes, it could be due to a feeling of discomfort or having a “bad bite” or occlusal problems.

If you observe someone who frequently chews gum or clenches their teeth, take a look at the side of their cheeks where the masseter muscles are. You’ll notice pronounced bulging and overdeveloped masseter muscles, similar to a bodybuilder’s bicep if they’ve been doing countless bicep curls.

However, I doubt anyone intentionally aims to grow their masseter muscles!

Sustained and subconscious touching of the upper and lower teeth with force can lead to muscle, head, neck, and TMJ pain. It can also cause excessive wear, shortening of the teeth, abfractions (triangular notches near the gum line that cause sensitivity and pain), tooth fractures, and even tooth loss.

Seeking Professional Help

Regardless of the reason you keep your teeth together, whether it’s clenching and grinding during the day or while you sleep due to snoring, sleep apnea, or other nocturnal disorders, we can assist in diagnosing the exact cause of the problem. We can help you manage or eliminate the issue, preventing further damage to your precious teeth.

At Dental Care of Boca Raton, approximately half of the problems we encounter are directly or indirectly linked to how often and in what ways our patients hold their teeth together, how they move their jaws, or habits that can lead to severe damage, pain, and potential tooth loss over time.

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Please schedule an appointment today so we can conduct a thorough analysis and provide you with precise information about the condition of your jaws, bite, and teeth. Our goal is to keep you happy, healthy, pain-free, and smiling for the rest of your life!

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