What Does Ideal Teeth Alignment Look Like?

What Does Ideal Teeth Alignment Look Like?
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What Does Ideal Teeth Alignment Look Like?Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Ideal Teeth Alignment
  2. Teeth or Jaw Malocclusion
  3. Getting Proper Dental Care
  4. References

Even if your teeth appear straight from the front, they may not align properly in certain places, which can cause some dental problems.

But how do you know if you have ideal teeth alignment or a normal bite occlusion? The best way to know is to talk to your dentist during a regular check-up, or get assessed by an aligner company.

It is normal for your adult teeth to shift over time, even if you had braces as a child, and many adults are choosing to pursue dental care to realign their smiles. Your dentist may recommend certain types of dental appliances to help you achieve ideal teeth alignment. These may depend on what type of misalignment you have and how serious the issue is.

If your teeth do not have a normal bite occlusion, you may struggle with faster build-up of plaque, worn enamel and cracking teeth, sensitivity in your gums, halitosis, and other dental health issues. Realigning your teeth can reduce these problems and help you feel better about your smile.

ideal teeth alignment

What Does Ideal Teeth Alignment Look Like?

Genetics determine the size and shape of your teeth and jaw, which can also impact how serious any misalignment or malocclusions are. Many people have teeth that are crowded or spaced. They may have a jaw that is too small for the upper palate or vice versa, or they might have an overbite or underbite.

Ideal teeth alignment should:

  • Have upper teeth slightly overlapping the lower teeth.
  • Have points of the molars fitting into the grooves of the opposite molars.
  • Be symmetrical in the upper and lower jaw lines.
  • Have top and bottom incisors that meet in a straight line.
  • Be comfortable and pain-free, with little wear and tear on specific teeth.

It is important to know that almost no one has a perfect bite from the time their adult teeth come in. Most people need orthodontic help of some type, and they often need to return to orthodontic treatment throughout their lives as their teeth shift.

Even people who seem to have perfectly straight teeth when they smile may have some misalignment that impacts their oral health. While each person’s bite is a little bit different, dentists base healthy mouths on ideal teeth alignment or a normal bite occlusion.

Misalignment can lead to shifting teeth, gum disease, worn enamel, and other dental health problems as you get older.

Malocclusions of the Teeth or Jaw

The term malocclusion is Latin for “bad bite.” There are a few types of teeth misalignment leading to a bad bite, including:

  • Spacing, or when there are spaces between your teeth.
  • Crowding, which is when teeth overlap each other and thrust each other out of line.
  • Overbites, which occur when the top teeth are too far in front of the lower teeth.
  • Underbites, which is when the bottom teeth protrude in front of the top teeth.
  • Crossbites, which is when the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth. This can occur with the front or back teeth.
  • Open bites, which occur when the front teeth do not overlap the bottom teeth and do not meet.

There are three diagnosable types of malocclusions.

  1. Class 1: The upper teeth slightly overlap the lower teeth, but it is considered normal.
  2. Class 2: The upper jaw and teeth significantly overlap the lower jaw and teeth.
  3. Class 3: The lower jaw and teeth jut in front of the upper jaw and teeth.

When you smile, you may see one or two teeth out of alignment, but this is not a severe issue until it impacts your oral health. You can choose dental appliances like clear aligners for cosmetic reasons, to achieve ideal teeth alignment, but your dentist may also recommend them if your alignment will significantly impact your oral health or your overall health. Many people who do not have ideal teeth alignment develop headaches, jaw pain, snoring, sleep disorders, and gingivitis or other periodontal diseases more easily.

Getting Proper Dental Care Can Help You Get Ideal Teeth Alignment

Fortunately, there are many options to achieve ideal teeth alignment. Children and teenagers often get braces because this dental appliance can align teeth into the proper position as their jaws and adult teeth are forming. Using braces, retainers, or aligners in adulthood can also help to restore ideal teeth alignment.

One of the most popular ways to straighten teeth is using clear aligners. Your dentist can help you fit these aligners if you have severe misalignment issues. If you have mild to moderate bite problems, mail-order aligners may be a good option for you.

These aligners are made by dental professionals based on impressions you send in, so they will help you get your smile perfect. They are often less expensive than clear aligners from your dentist, and they take less time than traditional braces.

You may need additional dental treatments to adjust your jaw alignment or prevent teeth from moving out of alignment. You may need help keeping your gums and roots healthy too. While clear aligners are a great treatment alongside these options, they may not be the only solution to getting a normal, healthy bite.

The best option is to talk to your dentist about an overall treatment plan and ask if clear aligners can benefit you during this process. Keep your teeth healthy at home with regular brushing and flossing.

Be sure to maintain regular dental appointments to ensure your teeth are healthy. This includes finding out if you have a malocclusion that may not impact your smile overall, but can lead to long-term dental health issues like thin enamel, cracked teeth, or gum disease. Very few people naturally have perfect smiles, and many people investigate options to keep their mouths healthy and their bites aligned.


An Overview of Dental Anatomy. DentalCare from Crest. Date fetched: April 27, 2021.

How to Straighten Teeth Without Braces. Colgate. Date fetched: April 27, 2021.

How to Tell If You Have a Bad Bite. (October 2019). Pure Orthodontics. Date fetched: April 27, 2021.

Malocclusion of Teeth. (February 2020). MedlinePlus. Date fetched: April 27, 2021.

Misaligned Teeth and Jaws: Overview. (January 2020). InformedHealth.org. Date fetched: April 27, 2021.

Adult Perceptions of Different Orthodontic Appliances. (December 2019). Dove Medical Press. Date fetched: April 27, 2021.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.