Everything you need to know about crossbite

What is malocclusion?

A healthy bite vs. a poor bite

When you close your mouth, your teeth must be normal and correct with other teeth, both in the upper and lower jaws. An ideal correct bite is when the upper teeth fit slightly over the lower teeth.

Malocclusion is when you have a poor bite caused by misaligned teeth. In other words, when your upper and lower teeth do not align correctly, you have malocclusion or a bad bite. Malocclusion needs treatment because it can cause oral health complications, affect your overall health and the quality of your life.

There are various types of malocclusion, like overbiteopen biteunderbite, spacingcrowding.

Let’s see what crossbite is!

cross bite

What is a crossbite?

“When the top teeth and bottom teeth do not fit well, causing misaligned bites.”

Crossbite is a form of malocclusion or a misaligned bite that can be caused because of a tooth position or jaw position, or both. It occurs when some of your top teeth are growing slightly behind or inside your bottom teeth. In some cases, crossbite is when your lower teeth overlap your upper teeth.

If your upper teeth are positioned inside your lower teeth, you have crossbite and need to seek treatment because it’s a misalignment of the teeth or jaw and can affect your smile, cause damage to your gums, and affect the jaw growth.

The different types of crossbites

Posterior crossbites and anterior crossbites

Posterior crossbite: back upper teeth bite down inside lower teeth

Posterior crossbite is when the misalignment occurs at the sides of the mouth and in the back teeth. In a posterior crossbite, the upper back teeth are positioned inside the bottom back teeth.

Posterior crossbite is not very noticeable, considering the position of the teeth that are further back in the mouth. Posterior crossbites may occur on one or both sides of the mouth. Posterior crossbites may occur if the upper jaw and palate are relatively narrower than the bottom jaw.

Anterior crossbite: upper front teeth are located behind lower teeth

Anterior crossbite is when the misalignment occurs at the front of the mouth in the front teeth. Anterior crossbite occurs when the bottom teeth in front of your mouth fit over the upper front teeth.

In this case, the top teeth in the front of your mouth are positioned behind the lower front teeth or the front bottom teeth. Anterior crossbites can affect a single tooth or several teeth.

crossbite treatment methods

Other types of crossbite

  • Single tooth crossbite: In case a baby tooth does not erupt when it’s due, it can cause the delayed eruption of the adult tooth.
  • Bilateral crossbite: A bilateral crossbite means the condition is on both sides, unlike a unilateral crossbite which occurs only on one side.
  • A scissor crossbite: Dental arches will typically grow and increase at about the same rate. If dental arches’ growth does not occur at the same rate, a scissor crossbite will happen.
  • Dental crossbite: Dental crossbite is related to some problems with the tooth that can give rise to having a misaligned bite.
  • Skeletal crossbite: Skeletal crossbite results from a skeletal discrepancy between the two jaws.

No matter what causes a crossbite, treatment is necessary to have a healthy smile and prevent future complications.

What causes a crossbite?

Below, you can see some of the most common crossbites causes: genetic and developmental causes.

Genetic Causes of Crossbite

Hereditary factors

Orthodontic problems can run in the family, in general. Children whose parents or other family members had crossbite are more likely to develop crossbite. Crossbite can be due to genetics and hereditary factors, so that you may have inherited crossbite from one of your parents.

Both dental and skeletal factors can be the result of genetics. Therefore, having a large lower A small or narrow upper jaw can be simply due to genetic factors, and there’s nothing a person can do to prevent it. Treatment is, however, possible, even if genetics has caused a crossbite.

Orthodontists may use a growth modification device to expand your child’s upper jaw and prepare them for future orthodontic treatment.

Your child’s orthodontist can fix a crossbite with orthodontic treatment once the child’s permanent teeth start to erupt.

Developmental Causes of Crossbite

Bad childhood habits

Poor thumb-sucking habits, tongue thrusting, finger sucking, and prolonged use of pacifiers or bottles can alter the upper jaw growth and cause crossbite. Thumb sucking can interfere with the normal growth of the jaw.

Mouth breathing

 Breathing through the mouth due to enlarged tonsils or nasal obstruction can interfere with facial growth, especially upper jaw growth, and develop crossbite.

Delayed loss of baby teeth and abnormal and delayed eruption of permanent teeth

If your child’s permanent teeth have grown abnormally, with delay, and before your child has lost their baby teeth, they may get crossbite. It is especially the case if the delayed eruption of adult teeth occurs in the upper jaws.

If adult teeth cause crossbite after their eruption, orthodontic treatment can move the problematic tooth into the proper position.

Crossbite teeth before and after

What issues may a crossbite cause?

Crossbite symptoms and complications

If you or your child have a crossbite, you may be experiencing all or some of these symptoms:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Teeth grinding
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease and receding gums can damage your tooth-supporting structures and lead to experiencing loose teeth, bone loss, and tooth loss.
  • Worn down enamel
  • Trouble chewing or biting
  • Tongue or cheek biting
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Facial asymmetry; abnormal facial development can cause self-consciousness and low self-esteem.
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders

Crossbite treatment options

How to fix a crossbite

Our Brisbane orthodontist recommends bringing children between 7 to 8 years old for their first orthodontic assessment. The early orthodontic intervention will increase your child’s chance of receiving the best treatment plan and facing fewer complications in the future.

The severity of crossbite and the tooth’s position will usually determine the best treatment plan for crossbite.

Here are some common treatment options to fix a crossbite:

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Invisalign can correct several orthodontic problems both in teens and adults. The patient should wear this set of clear aligners for about 20 to 22 hours per day to have their crooked teeth corrected. These clear aligners are very popular because they are removable and rather invisible and can cover the entire biting surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. Using Invisalign will help crossbite correction and gradually move the upper and lower teeth into their correct position.

Reverse-Pull Headgear (Face mask)

Crossbite correction with a reverse-pull headgear involves moving the upper jaw forward to match the size of the lower jaw.

Tooth Removal

A paediatric dentist may need to extract one or more teeth to make more space to move the lower teeth back. It’s typically done with braces or Invisalign.

Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery may be needed in some rare crossbite cases that the condition is so severe. The surgery involves repositioning the jaw bone to fix crossbite.

In very mild crossbite cases, cosmetic dentistry like veneers may be used as a crossbite treatment option.

What happens if a crossbite is left untreated?

Untreated crossbites

A typical question many of our patients ask every day “Can a crossbite cause temporomandibular joint disorder?” The answer’s YES! A crossbite needs to be addressed by an orthodontist, or it will cause severe pain for you or your child.

Untreated crossbites can lead to many painful complications such as TMD, jaw pain, loose teeth, receding gums, excessive wear and tear of enamel, and experiencing a chipped tooth.

Brisbane Kids Dentists

To figure out what treatment option is the best for you or your child, give our dental clinic a call today or visit our website to book online. Here’s our number 07 3343 4869 .