A woman showing off her braces with a smile due to having no more crossbite problems

Crossbite Problems & Solutions: How We Identify & Treat Crossbite

Do you think you might have a crossbite? If so, you’re not alone! Orthodontists often treat crossbites, which are one of the most common types of orthodontic issues. The severity of a crossbite can vary, and whether or not treatment is needed depends on the degree of the problem. If you’d like to learn more about crossbites and crossbite problems, keep reading!

What Is a Crossbite?

A crossbite is a type of misalignment of the upper and lower teeth when you bite down. Any degree of misalignment can be classified as a crossbite, but the more severe the issue, the more likely it is in need to be treated.

Crossbites can occur in both the front and back teeth, or even in a group of teeth. The most common type of crossbite is when the lower teeth are positioned inside the upper teeth on one or both sides. This can cause issues with jaw development and facial symmetry. Posterior crossbites involve the back teeth, while anterior crossbites affect only the front teeth.

How Do Orthodontists Identify Crossbite Problems?

For most people, the initial step for identifying crossbite problems starts with their general dentist. With your regular dental visits, especially during your youth, the dentist should be looking out for signs of alignment issues. When they suspect a problem, or see one directly, they can recommend you visit an orthodontist for further evaluation.

An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of orthodontic problems. They are uniquely trained to identify when a crossbite problem exists. Through an initial exam, the orthodontist can determine if your teeth may be misaligned or your jaw may be out of place. Orthodontists have several ways to help identify problems that could be caused by crossbite, such as:

Physical Examination – The most basic way an orthodontist will identify issues. They look around your mouth, have you bite down, and evaluate the overall positioning of your teeth. This won’t catch every issue, but for more significant crossbites, the orthodontist can sometimes know treatment is needed already.

X-Rays – Like your general dentist, orthodontists use x-rays to help see what’s happening beneath the surface. By seeing underneath your gums, your orthodontist can get a better idea of where the source of your crossbite problems is occuring, and even make estimations of what kind of issues might happen in the future without crossbite treatment.

If a crossbite issue is identified, the first thing they’ll want to know is how severe it is. In many cases, a minor crossbite isn’t cause for concern – after all, everyone’s teeth are different, and not many people grow up with naturally perfect teeth.

However, if your crossbite is identified to be likely to cause issues in the long-term, the orthodontist can provide recommendations for orthodontic treatment that will help treat the problem. With their specialized training and expertise, they can accurately diagnose crossbite problems and help you get back on track with proper alignment of your teeth and jaw.

What Problems Can a Crossbite Cause?

An uneven bite puts a lot of unnecessary stress on your mouth. While it may not seem like a big deal (and you may even feel like you’ve “gotten used” to dealing with it) you’ll want to avoid the long-term problems a crossbite can cause. Some of the most common dental issues associated with crossbite could be:

  • Uneven wear and tear of the teeth
  • Jaw joint pain
  • Headaches,
  • Speech Problems
  • Difficulty Chewing

Like any orthodontic issue, the damage to your teeth could compound other problems. As your mouth and teeth struggle to function with the misalignment, you could expose yourself to more risks of long-term oral health issues like gingivitis, tooth decay, and even losing teeth. Crossbites in particular can increase your chances of teeth connecting in strange ways, causing chipping or impact pains, which in addition to hurting, can result in you needing treatment like crowns or other tooth restoration.

Over time, these issues can become more pronounced and damaging. Therefore it is essential to have any crossbites evaluated by a qualified dental professional to ensure that proper corrective measures are taken before any long-term damage occurs.

What Is the Treatment for Crossbite?

Following your evaluations, the next step is for your orthodontist to recommend the best treatment for crossbite and the problems it may be causing. Fortunately, like most orthodontic issues, you’ll have some options to choose from!

In most cases, the treatment for crossbite problems usually involves braces to realign your teeth into their ideal position. Braces are a long-term process that gently reposition your teeth until the crossbite is either minimized or eliminated completely! When choosing braces, some options you may consider are traditional braces or newer technology like InvisAlign.

Invisalign braces are one of the most popular treatments, especially for adults needing braces, as they are virtually invisible and more comfortable than traditional metal braces. They use a step-by-step process of changing to new clear aligners as your teeth move, with each set repositioning your teeth more than the last.

However, traditional metal braces are still an option for those who prefer them. These can be a more affordable option, and some find them easier to maintain because you don’t have to worry about putting them on every day (since they stay on) or losing the aligners. For younger patients, metal braces can be more reliable since parents can’t know their children are properly using aligners throughout the day, for instance when they’re at school or with friends.

Orthodontic treatment generally takes between 6 and 24 months, depending on the severity of the case. During this time, patients must wear their braces all day and night to ensure proper alignment of their teeth and jaws. Regular visits with an orthodontist will be required throughout treatment to monitor progress, and once finished, retainers may need to be worn at night to prevent any relapse of crossbite.

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Do you have questions about Invisalign or orthodontic treatment? We can answer your questions to keep your teeth and gums healthy – schedule a free consultation! Contact us online or call 440-842-8015

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