Is it Okay if My Molars Don’t Touch?

Is it Okay if My Molars Don't Touch

Ideally, your top and bottom teeth should be in perfect harmony, resting right up against each other when you close your mouth. However, in reality, this isn’t always the case. There are many issues that can affect the way your teeth, and particularly your molars, align. At our Houston dental practice, patients often ask Dr. Cindy Flanagan and our team questions about their bite. If your back teeth don’t click together, you may begin to worry about your oral health. There are a variety of factors that can affect this condition, so it can be difficult to sort out what is a problem and what isn’t. In the following blog, we answer the common query, “Is it okay if my molars don’t touch?”

What is Occlusion?

If your molars don’t meet, this is an issue of “occlusion.” Bite FX explains, “In dentistry, your occlusion basically refers to how your teeth come together. It’s more than just your ‘bite’ as you can bite in different ways depending on whether you are chewing or attempting to take a bite out of something.” Your molars shouldn’t always touch—after all, you need to open your mouth and move your jaw around to speak, eat, drink, and smile. Bite FX goes on: “You also bring your teeth together when you swallow and may bring them together in quite different ways when you sleep and are not consciously guiding them one way or another.” Your bite can change by the second, minute, or hour, depending on the activity. The word “‘occlusion’ refers to how your teeth come together in all these different ways.

Issues with occlusion are typically called “malocclusion.” This condition could “damage or destroy teeth,” but it could also be a temporary state, a symptom of some other situation, or a manageable circumstance.

Orthodontic Progress

If you’re in the midst of orthodontia, your molars might stop touching temporarily as they shift. Orthodontic treatment often corrects malocclusion, and in this process, you might notice changes in your bite. Braces might also cause you to realize for the first time that your bite actually is off. While these adjustments might take some getting used to, they’ll ultimately benefit the look, feel, function, and health of your smile. If you’d like to enjoy straighter teeth and a better bite, Dr. Flanagan and our team offer Invisalign®. These discreet, removable aligners can ease the transition of your teeth, making it easier to eat, drink, and maintain oral hygiene while you enhance your mouth.

TMJ Troubles

Sometimes, your molars may not touch because your jaw isn’t properly positioned. This condition may have nothing to do with your teeth, and everything to do with your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. This band of tissue stretches from your temples to your chin, allowing you to move your jaw. If it becomes torn, overextended, or otherwise damaged, you may suffer from TMJ disorder. This condition can cause malocclusion, headaches, difficulty opening the mouth, and a host of other uncomfortable symptoms. Fortunately, if you do have TMJ disorder, Dr. Flanagan and our team can help. We will examine your jaw and create a personalized treatment plan just for you. This might include a mouth guard, special massages, and anti-inflammatory medications, as needed. TMJ treatment can help you manage your condition and get your molars back in place.

A “Wise” Bite

Younger patients might become worried that their furthest back molars aren’t touching because the teeth seem too short to meet or protrude at an odd angle. This usually means that their wisdom teeth are emerging. As they begin to erupt, they may not be tall enough to touch, or they may be slightly impacted, erupting at an improper angle. Furthermore, wisdom teeth can change the way molars around them fit in your mouth, potentially causing these teeth not to touch.

If your molars don’t touch due to growing wisdom teeth, it’s important to see Dr. Flanagan for a consultation. It may be possible to keep them in place, but you could need to remove them to protect and benefit your oral health. We will go over the potential problems and possible solutions with you before creating a treatment plan to meet your needs.

Do You Have More Questions About Your Molars?

Dr. Flanagan and our Houston dental team are here to help you. Contact us today to learn more about your molars and schedule an appointment!

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