A crossbite is a dental anomaly that impacts the way your teeth are aligned. The primary sign of having a crossbite is those upper teeth fit behind your lower teeth when your mouth is closed or at rest. This can affect teeth in the front of your mouth or toward the back of your mouth.
This condition shares characteristics with another dental anomaly known as the underbite. Both of these are malocclusion, however, in their ways. The primary point of distinction between a crossbite and an underbite is that a crossbite impacts a particular group of teeth. An Underbite however impacts all of them equally.
A crossbite can lead to complications and other painful signs and symptoms, but it is very easy to correct it with proper treatment by a competent dental health expert.
We will try to provide you with extensive research for you if you suspect you or your child have a crossbite.
What Is a Crossbite?
Having neatly aligned jaws that fold over each other is considered an important indication of your oral health condition.
As the name suggests, a crossbite usually refers to the teeth that don’t fold over each other when your mouth is closed or rested. When you happen to struggle with a crossbite, the complete set of your lower teeth might fit in the front section of your top teeth. This is a moderately common anomaly as considered by dental health experts and orthodontists.
There are two categories of crossbites: anterior and posterior.
A posterior crossbite is usually referred to as the group of lower teeth toward the back of your mouth fitting over the teeth in your top jaw.
An anterior crossbite, on the other hand, is referred to the group of teeth in the bottom front of your mouth fitting over the teeth of your top jaw.
What Causes a Crossbite?
There are several factors that can lead to a crossbite, including:
- A mismatch between the jaw size and the size of the teeth
- A thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting habit
- Premature loss or missing teeth
What Issues Can a Crossbite Cause?
A crossbite is not just a cosmetic complication. In the case of adults, a long-lasting crossbite can also lead to other complicated signs and symptoms. These symptoms and signs might comprise:
Pain in your jaw or teeth
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
Difficulty speaking or forming certain sounds
Pain in your jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles
What Usually Causes a Crossbite?
There are two primary causes that can lead to a crossbite: dental causes and skeletal causes.
Your genes might be responsible for the skeletal and dental factors that lead to the crossbite. When simply put, this means that if there are other people in your family who struggle with a crossbite, the chances are that either you or your biological offspring might develop these conditions too.
The circumstantial factors might also be the reason leading to your crossbite. In situations where your baby teeth didn’t possibly come loose and fall out during your initial years, or your permanent or adult teeth got delayed in sprouting in, your jawline and your other teeth may have developed a crossbite to compensate for those things.
Habits like breathing through your mouth or suckling on your thumb till the later years of your childhood can also be the reason why you might have to struggle with a crossbite.
How Is a Crossbite Corrected?
Crossbites can ideally be corrected using orthodontic devices, appliances, installations, or through surgical treatment.
The time to correct these crossbites can vary depending on the age of the person and the severity of the crossbite. It can approximately take anywhere between 18 months to 3 years to properly correct a crossbite.
If a crossbite gets diagnosed during childhood, the correction procedure can be easily initiated before age 10. When the jaws are still developing during childhood, palate expanders can be used to broaden the roof of your child’s mouth and correct a crossbite, traditional or conventional braces or dental headgears can also be used to treat crossbites.
Adults who struggle with comparatively milder cases of crossbite can also use orthodontic treatments, including:
- Removable palate expanders
- Elastics that are prescribed by an orthodontist
On the other hand, for adults with a comparatively more severe crossbite, jaw surgery may be the only way to go.
In the majority of cases. The process of correcting a crossbite involves orthodontics, including all the available options like the braces. Braces are ideally useful for children and teenagers when their jaws are still taking shape and can be mouldable. Having said that, there is no reason to think that only children can opt for correcting their overbites. it is never too late to seek treatment. Orthodontists are professionally trained to treat both adults and children. The correction procedure ideally takes place in phases and even requires extraction of the teeth or even the permanent teeth. In some rare cases, surgery might also become inevitable, especially when the cases are on the verge of getting out of hand. A maxillofacial surgeon does this orthognathic procedure to shorten the lower jaw to enable and facilitate proper teeth alignment.
Proper care of your oral health and dental hygiene like brushing and flossing is crucial to achieve the desired results throughout the treatment. Braces might pose certain challenges in keeping in maintaining dental hygiene and keeping it healthy. Your dental hygienist is mostly likely to recommend techniques to fight and prevent dental decay during the process.
When the patients are comparatively younger, the orthodontists it is much easier for the orthodontists to correct and adjust the shape and alignment of the jaws and teeth. Braces or dental restorations can still be useful and effective in correcting and treating milder cases of misalignment, even for patients who are adults or older. Having that said, if the patient happens to struggle from a severe case of crossbite, the patient might as well require jaw surgery.
The age of the patient, the cause, and the type of crossbite are some of the crucial factors that impact which treatment your dentist or orthodontist recommends. There are six possible treatment options:
Braces are structurally designed to straighten the upper and lower sets of the teeth to align and adjust the bite in the correct position to avoid any other complication. Children and adults can benefit from braces by getting their teeth realigned.
Should a comparatively smaller upper jaw not fit well with the lower jaw causing the crossbite, orthodontists can recommend increasing the size of the upper jaw with the help of palatal expanders. Fixed expanders gradually widen the jaw using a tool. Removable expanders are only worn at night.
The headgear is framed to attach to your head and face and puts gentle pressure on the teeth with wires. The force and pressure exerted on the teeth and jaw can increase or restrict the growth of the jaw bones. Headgear is typically prescribed for children and teenagers because their jaws are still growing or developing and are easier to fix and adjust.
A professional orthodontist might also recommend extraction or uprooting teeth to create more space to relocate the lower teeth back before fitting the braces.
Bonding, capping, and reshaping teeth can also improve mild misalignment.
The jaws and bones of an adult person are typically more difficult and challenging to fix and relocate without invasive correcting procedures, so you your dental health expert or the orthodontist might as well recommend a corrective surgery for you.
The primary aim of the jaw corrective surgery is to reset and correctly align the jaws. While the healing period is on, you might also require to get additional treatments and undergo other relevant procedures such as braces, to ensure that the crossbite gets fixed.
How Much Does Corrective Treatment Cost?
Your medical insurance plan might cover some of the expenses of your crossbite correction treatment only if it is classified as medically necessary. When simply put this means that your crossbite is hampering your daily routine, causing side effects, and having negative impacts on your quality of life.
In instances like this, a dental health expert, an orthodontist, or a medical caregiver can vouch for your insurance company to cover the expenses of the crossbite correction treatment.
Again, some dental insurance plans and companies might as well cover the expenses of a crossbite corrective treatment only for dependent children if orthodontics is included in your insurance plan.
However, you need to remember that dental insurance plans rarely cover orthodontic treatments for adults, but it might be worth inquiring about, especially if your treatment is medically necessary, as we have mentioned earlier.
Without dental insurance, however, your costs will continue to vary according to the degree of treatment you need to correct a crossbite, and you will have shed all that money from your pocket.
Jaw surgery is typically the most expensive option, costing over $20,000.
Braces for children and adults can range from $3,000 to $7,000.
A palate expander is the simplest and most affordable option, landing between $2,000 and $3,000.
Do You Need to Correct a Crossbite?
Whether you want to correct your crossbite or you don’t want to, it is your discretion. But it is important that you realize that the cons of not getting your crossbite extend way beyond the cosmetic aesthetics.
If you decide not to get your crossbite corrected, however, you might be more susceptible to developing other dental health and oral health conditions. Teeth that are not properly aligned are comparatively more difficult to clean, which by default can increase our risk of dental decay and periodontal diseases.
There exist other chronic dental or medical complications that can be directly associated with an uncorrected crossbite, including serious ones like TMJ and sleep apnoea.
Oral Care During Treatment
Consult and work with your dental hygienist to maintain your oral and dental hygiene regimen while undergoing a crossbite corrective treatment. Bacteria that are responsible for dental decay ideally thrive and flourish in the nooks and distant crannies around the braces. Truth be told, crossbites can only be possibly corrected with the help of a dental care expert. Talk to your dental caregiver if your crossbite is bothering you or interfering with your daily life. They are trained to recommend the best treatment options suited for you and help you take care of that misaligned little bite of yours.
A crossbite is one of the most common anomalies in the domain of dentistry, that can lead to other dental complications if left untreated or unattended.
Is a Crossbite Bad for Your Teeth?
Yes. If left untreated, crossbites can cause significant damage to your health over time:
- Headaches, toothaches, or jaw aches
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Trouble closing your mouth properly
- Speech impediments such as lisp or slurs
- Poor sleep quality
- Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
- Pain in jaw joints or muscles
- Difficulty maintaining proper oral hygiene
- Bacterial growth
- Plaque build-up
- Gum or periodontal disease
- Tooth loss
There are established and proven corrective methods that treat crossbites in adults and children. If you seem to believe or are suspicious that you might have a crossbite, visit your dental health expert or your orthodontist for a quick and easy diagnosis and take the procedure to the next level.