If you are like most people you may not have a full understanding of what a crossbite is until you or a family member is diagnosed with one. Basically, there are two types of crossbites and both of them can lead to jaw pain, TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction), and other issues such as receding gums and loose teeth. These side effects are not things that anyone wants to deal with, but the good news is that crossbites are treatable. There are crossbite correction and treatment options available and we’re here to help you understand a few of your options.
What Exactly is a Crossbite?
The official clinical definition of a crossbite is “an abnormal relation of one or more teeth of one arch to the opposing tooth or teeth of the other arch, caused by deviation of tooth position or abnormal jaw position.”
In everyday language, a crossbite occurs when there is a misalignment of your upper teeth in relation to your lower teeth.
Crossbites can be hereditary, but they can also be situational. Crossbites that occur in children can stem from the permanent teeth growing in before all baby teeth have fallen out. If this occurs, the new teeth that come in can’t grow in place properly which results in misalignment issues.
Most of the time however, crossbites stem from genetics. If your parents had issues with their bites, chances are they could have passed this down to you.
Anterior Crossbites vs. Posterior Crossbites
There are generally two types of crossbites; anterior crossbites and posterior crossbites. A posterior crossbite is what occurs when your upper teeth fall inside your lower teeth on one side when you bite down. An anterior crossbite, which is similar to an underbite, is what occurs when your top front teeth fall behind your lower front teeth when you bite down.
Both types of crossbites can be corrected and the sooner they are remedied, the better.
Crossbites that are left untreated can cause a host of health problems ranging from cosmetic issues, jaw grinding, receding gum line, the loss of teeth, and jaw issues.
Some patients with crossbites report having headaches from the tension and stress that is being placed on the jaw. Additional tensions arise from teeth grinding due to misalignment and, in worst case scenarios, crossbites can even affect the way a patient’s face and jaw grow. These issues can all be prevented with proper treatment options, especially when treated at a young age.
If you or someone in your family is living with a crossbite, the best course of action is to schedule a visit with your dentist for a full examination. Your dentist will be able to identify if a crossbite is present and recommend the proper course of treatment.
Crossbite Correction and Treatment Options
Most dental professionals would agree that the best time to correct a crossbite is as a child or teenager. There are treatments available for adults as well, but the earlier the crossbite is detected and treated, the better. Most crossbites are remedied by adjusting the teeth or jaw using orthodontic treatments and appliances.
Here is a quick list of treatment options that are available to correct crossbites. This list is by no means intended to be a recommendation of how to address your child’s crossbite or your own. It is just a list of options that are generally available for the treatment of crossbites. Each individual case is different and requires an examination in order to determine the best course of action.
– Maxillary Expander
– Removable expander
– Surgery in extreme cases
Many orthodontic professionals utilize a combined therapy of expanders and braces. The expanders work to create the correct amount of space in between the teeth so that the bites are aligned properly throughout the entire mouth. In adults, sometimes a removable expander can be prescribed that is only worn at night. Each case is different and will require it’s own treatment plan.
The best place to start is by talking to your dentist about crossbite correction and treatment optionsavailable to you or your child. As we’ve mentioned, crossbites that are left untreated can cause even larger health issues down the road.
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