Do you have crossbite teeth? One way to find out is by observing your smile. Do any of your upper teeth sit inside the bottom row when you bite? If so, you might have this malocclusion.
What is a Crossbite?
With a crossbite, the edges of your teeth aren’t meeting where they should. Every time you chew or bite, the force transfers to the wrong surfaces and angles. Crossbites can appear at the front or sides of the mouth, impacting one or multiple teeth. As a result, you might have trouble eating, gum recession, and dental fractures. Severe toothache is another side effect of this condition.
Types of crossbite teeth
There are two main classifications: anterior crossbites and posterior crossbites. The former occurs when your upper front teeth (incisors and canines) position themselves behind the lower front teeth. Meanwhile, the latter affects teeth in the back of the mouth, along the sides.
If you notice frequent occurrences of jaw pain and speech problems related to your crossbite, it might be time to see a doctor with experience in treating this malocclusion. Like most misalignments, leaving it untreated can increase your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. That’s where orthodontic treatment comes in.
How to Fix Crossbite Teeth With Orthodontic Treatment
It’s best to address malocclusions as soon as possible to prevent complications. That’s partly why children and adolescents are ideal candidates for orthodontic treatment. Since their jaws are still developing, they’re also more receptive to adjustments. However, that doesn’t mean it’s too late for adults. Remember: there’s no age limit for orthodontics.
You have two general options for appliances: fixed or removable. Traditional braces are the most common example of the former. They consist of wires and brackets that bond to teeth to treat misalignment over time.
Removable aligners, like ClearCorrect, are equally effective in treating various malocclusions. Plus, you can take them off at any time! These aligners are also more discreet than braces, thanks to their clear and stain-resistant plastic material.
According to Esthetic Dentistry: A Clinical Approach to Techniques and Materials (Third Edition), “The correction of a single-tooth crossbite is very effective with clear aligners due to the ability of the plastic to disocclude the jaws.” The aligner shields the affected tooth and keeps it from reverting to its original position. As it moves, the opposing tooth moves in the opposite direction until the two meet evenly.
Of course, you’ll still need to consult your treating doctor to determine which appliance (if any) will work for your case. If you’d like to know if your crossbite is treatable with ClearCorrect, click here.
Do You Need Elastics to Treat Crossbite Teeth?
Along with aligners, your doctor may recommend elastics as part of your treatment plan. They may add slits or bonded buttons to your aligners for the rubber bands to “hook” onto. These elastics provide additional support for complex tooth movements and assist in improving bite alignment.
Here’s an example of how it works: if the affected teeth need to move forward, elastics can add extra pull force to make it happen. Meanwhile, the aligners push the rest back until all teeth are aligned correctly. That push-and-pull can lead to a more seamless – and, in some instances, speedy – result.
Of course, not all cases of crossbite teeth will require elastics for their resolution. Ultimately, the decision to use them will depend on your assessment. Make sure to collaborate closely with your treating doctor during every phase of your treatment so you’re both aware of your needs.
De Almeida, R. R., De Almeida, M. R., Oltramari-Navarro, P. V. P., De Castro Ferreira Conti, A. C., De Lima Navarro, R., & Marques, H. V. A. (2012). Posterior crossbite – treatment and stability. Journal of Applied Oral Science, 20(2), 286–294.
Esthetic dentistry. (n.d.). ScienceDirect.
The Australian Society of Orthodontics. (2022a, August 6). How orthodontists correct a crossbite in Australia. Orthodontics Australia. https://orthodonticsaustralia.org.au/fix-a-crossbite