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What is a Crossbite? Symptoms and Treatment

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People with crossbite teeth often have their teeth closer to the cheek or the tongue. If left untreated, this condition may result in various other complications affecting your dental aesthetics.

While there are a number of different crossbites, it would be prudent to have a better understanding of what they all are, assisting you in knowing what to do in case you’re faced with an issue. This post takes a closer look into crossbite teeth, considering the different types, their main causes, and how to fix them.

What Is a Crossbite?

crossbite what is it

A crossbite is one of the most common malocclusions (bite problems). But what does a crossbite look like? This problem occurs when your teeth do not line up correctly whenever you close your mouth. In other words, your top and bottom teeth don’t come together or bite in the correct position.

This dental concern may affect a single tooth or several teeth on your front (anterior crossbite) and back teeth (posterior crossbite). In most cases, a crossbite is caused by the jaw position, tooth position, or a combination of both.

Here is a quick overview of the two main types of crossbite:

Posterior crossbite

A posterior crossbite affects the back teeth and is one of the common teeth alignment problems. This is a situation where the upper back teeth sit inside the lower back teeth when you bite down. Moreover, a posterior crossbite can happen either on the right or left of the jaw (unilateral) or affect both sides in equal proportion (bilateral).

Anterior crossbite

An anterior crossbite mainly affects the front teeth and brings forth a situation where the lower front teeth stick out past the upper front teeth when resting. This is also commonly referred to as an ‘underbite.’ Anterior crossbites are also known to be the most popular type of crossbites among patients.

What Are the Main Causes of a Crossbite?

There isn’t a single root cause of crossbite teeth, and you may have to get your situation analyzed by a dentist to ascertain how you got a crossbite.

But what causes a crossbite? In most cases, crossbites can be caused by dental and skeletal issues or a combination of both, which tends to build up over time. Other factors that fuel the prevalence of crossbite teeth include genetics, unhealthy habits, and bone structure problems such as a crossbite misaligned jaw, among others.

With that in mind, we can further break down the specific causes of the crossbite teeth into:

Genetics could be classified as one of the biggest causes of teeth crossbite. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, teeth misalignment is primarily hereditary and runs in families.

What Are the Main Symptoms of a Crossbite?

The main symptom of a crossbite is teeth misalignment. This means that your teeth do not line up properly. Different people experience different types of crossbites, as it all depends on their condition’s severity and knowing where the teeth are affected. For instance, it might be a case of only one tooth getting tucked behind another, or there are several affected teeth.

In most cases, the effects of a crossbite can only stop at teeth misalignment. However, it can lead to other issues if not treated on time. Here are some crossbite symptoms you can look out for:

It would be prudent to note that some people may not experience any of these symptoms and may only have teeth misalignment as the only symptom of a crossbite.

How to Fix a Crossbite?

The primary method of correcting a crossbite is through an orthodontic device or surgical treatment. The best options for children and adults may vary. Moreover, the severity of the condition plays a significant role in determining the right treatment method.

It can take anywhere between 18 months to 3 years to fix a crossbite in both children and adults, with the exact period taken depending on the severity of the condition.

Crossbite correction in children can begin before age 10, but in most cases, orthodontists recommend that you wait until they are 7 or 8 before treatment begins. Ideally, the best time to treat a crossbite is when a child is still young, as their jaw is still developing, making it easier to adjust the movements faster.

Nevertheless, treating a crossbite in adulthood is still possible and something that can easily be accomplished. You can have a look at some popular method for how to fix a malocclusion to help you get started.

Some of the most popular crossbite treatment options include:

The right treatment method depends on your severity, age, and preferences. However, the sole decision on the right method falls on your orthodontist, who will guide you better.

You can also look into the different types of braces for teeth and determine which works best for your case. Alternatively, You may look at various crossbite before and after images to help you have an overview of the results you may get from your preferred treatment method.

There are also other forms of treatment, such as Myofunctional therapy. In this therapy, you learn how to correctly chew and swallow in a way that does not push your teeth out of place. You also learn how to breathe using your nose instead of your mouth, which is one of the biggest factors that expedite a crossbite. You may have this therapy alongside other treatment options.

Bottom Line

It would be prudent to note that a crossbite is not a medical emergency. However, if left untreated, it might bring forth other teeth complications, including jaw problems that can affect your facial features.

Crossbites also create crooked teeth, making cleaning a lot more complicated. Therefore, this leads to cavities and other dental problems. Nevertheless, checking your teeth for any issues, such as a crossbite, is essential during regular dental checkups.


Most frequent questions and answers

A crossbite occurs when your teeth do not line up properly whenever you close your mouth. In other words, your top and bottom teeth don’t come together or bite in the correct position.

The average time to fix a crossbite is between 18 months and three years. The definite period may be shorter or longer, depending on one’s severity of the problem and age. Children are more likely to get the desired results faster than adults, as their jaw structures are still developing and easy to manipulate.

The cost of crossbite treatment depends on the procedure or treatment method used. Jaw surgery for crossbite is typically the most expensive and can take you back over $20,000. Braces go for about $3,000 – $7,000, while palate expanders cost a between $2,000 and $3,000.

In most cases, dental insurance providers may cover your crossbite treatment as long as it is classified as medically important. This means that if the treatment is not done, you may have difficulty in your regular life functioning.

Although there isn’t a standard age for a crossbite to be treated, dental experts recommend that the treatment in children should be paused until they are at least 7 – 8 years old. However, treatment for crossbites in adults should begin as soon as the problem is noticed.

A crossbite is not a medical emergency; thus, it is not compulsory for you to treat it. However, keep in mind that the downsides of a crossbite extend beyond aesthetics. You might develop other dental issues if the crossbite isn’t treated in time.


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