Crossbites are one of the most common orthodontic problems, and they can be a real pain! But, with a little understanding and information about what crossbites really are, you'll find that they’re not nearly as bad as people make them out to be. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what a crossbite is, what causes it, and how to effectively fix a crossbite.
What Is a Crossbite?
Crossbite is the term used for when teeth are misaligned, usually in opposite directions. For example, if your lower front tooth (the one next to the canine) is slightly outwards, and your upper front tooth is slightly inwards, you'd say that you have a crossbite.
The most common type of crossbite is where two top incisors are involved. The upper incisor rotates outward, and the lower incisor rotates inward. This case is known as a Class II Crossbite. If only one top incisor is involved, then it's known as a Class I Crossbite.
Crossbites commonly involve the lower front teeth as well. The lower inside tooth rotates outwards, and the upper outside tooth rotates inwards.
A crossbite is often described by how much space there is between your upper and lower front teeth when they're together. For example, if you only have a small amount of room, then you'd be said to have a 'mild' crossbite, and if there's quite a bit of room between them, then you'd say that your bite is 'severe' or 'open.'
Note: crossbites don't affect your molars/back teeth. If you have a crossbite, the only teeth involved are your front six incisors.
How Do I Know if I Have a Crossbite?
One of the most common signs of a crossbite is an overjet (involves the top of your upper teeth) or an underbite, which is not proportional to other parts of the face. You can test for both by looking at yourself in natural daylight with no make-up on and scrunching up your face, so it's slightly distorted. If there's an overjet/underbite, then this could be caused by a crossbite! Look at yourself in the mirror, so you're looking at your whole face -- crossbites can be a problem with only one side or both sides. It's important to know that crossbites aren't always noticeable straight away as they only become obvious when your jaws come together. When this happens, it'll often be much more obvious than if the misalignment was just a slight overjet/underbite.
What Causes Crossbites?
There are several reasons why crossbites develop, but they mainly fall into one of three categories. In order of most likely to least likely they are a slight overjet/underbite, which has simply become worse with time; muscular forces, such as when sucking your thumb or clenching your jaw too tightly; or during growth spurts if you're still at an early age.
How to Fix Crossbites
There are several orthodontic treatments which can be used to fix crossbites. If you or your child has a crossbite and it's not too severe/open, then non-extraction orthodontic treatment is often recommended. This involves simply moving the misaligned teeth back in line using dental braces on both the upper and lower teeth. Only six months of treatment is required in most cases, although this depends on the severity.
If the crossbite is quite severe or open, meaning that there's quite a large amount of space between your upper and lower front teeth when they're together, then your orthodontist may suggest other forms of treatment.
One thing you mustn't do is leave the crossbite untreated! If you continue with your bad bite, your jaw may simply grow outwards so that the misalignment increases in severity or changes into an underbite. This is known as 'malocclusion,' which refers to an incorrect bite.
If you are looking for an orthodontic clinic that can help you fix crossbites, overbites, or get Invisalign for kids or adults, look no further than Evenly. We offer some of the most advanced orthodontic treatment options to help restore your smile quickly.