This is a question we recently received – Optimally when a person’s jaws are closed, which corresponding tooth pairs should be in contact with each other? When I say ‘tooth pairs’ I refer to the ‘pair’ of upper and lower equivalents- i.e lower left second molar with upper left second molar.

Dr. Derek Sanders’ answer – When teeth come together, all teeth should touch at the same time, with the front teeth slightly out of heavy contact.  The reason is to allow stress to be distributed evenly amongst as many teeth as possible.  This reduces the stress that any one tooth, or series of teeth, will feel.  In cases that all 1st premolars (bicuspids) have been removed, the maxillary canines should fit in between the mandibular canines and 2nd premolars, the maxillary 2nd premolars should fit in between the mandibular 2nd premolars and mandibular 1st molars, the maxillary 1st molars should fit in between the mandibular 1st molars and mandibular 2nd molars, and the maxillary 2nd molars will only touch the mandibular 2nd molars.