How To Correct A Crossbite

by Jakob Larson  - September 9, 2023

Have you been experiencing discomfort or pain while eating or speaking? It might be time to address your crossbite. In this article, we will guide you through the most effective methods to correct a crossbite. From orthodontic treatments to jaw expansion techniques, we will explore various options available to help you achieve a comfortable and aligned bite. Don’t let a crossbite continue to cause you discomfort – let’s take a closer look at how you can correct it.

Understanding Crossbite

Crossbite is a dental condition characterized by a misalignment of the teeth, where some of the upper teeth sit behind the lower teeth when biting down. This can occur on one side of the mouth (unilateral crossbite) or both sides (bilateral crossbite). It is important to understand this condition and its various aspects in order to seek appropriate treatment.

Definition of Crossbite

Crossbite is defined as a dental malocclusion where the upper teeth do not align properly with the lower teeth when biting down. This can result in the upper teeth sitting inside the lower teeth, leading to functional issues and potential complications if left untreated. It is a common dental problem and can affect people of all ages.

Types of Crossbite

There are different types of crossbite, each with its own characteristics and implications. The types of crossbite include:

  1. Posterior Crossbite: This occurs when the upper teeth are positioned inside the lower teeth in the back of the mouth. It can affect one or both sides of the mouth and can involve one tooth or multiple teeth.
  2. Anterior Crossbite: This type of crossbite involves the front teeth, where the upper front teeth sit behind the lower front teeth. It can affect the appearance and function of the smile.
  3. Mixed Crossbite: Mixed crossbite refers to a combination of posterior and anterior crossbite, where both the back and front teeth are misaligned.
  4. Unilateral Crossbite: Unilateral crossbite affects only one side of the mouth. It can involve the back teeth or the front teeth, depending on the specific case.
  5. Bilateral Crossbite: Bilateral crossbite occurs when both sides of the mouth are affected. This can involve the back teeth or the front teeth.

Signs and Symptoms of Crossbite

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of crossbite is crucial for early detection and treatment. If you or your child experience any of the following issues, it may be an indication of crossbite:

Visible Misalignment

One of the most common signs of crossbite is a visible misalignment of the teeth. This can be observed when the upper teeth appear behind or inside the lower teeth when smiling or biting down. It can affect the aesthetics of the smile and may cause self-consciousness.

Difficulty in Chewing and Biting

Crossbite can lead to difficulty in chewing and biting properly. This is because the misalignment interferes with the normal functioning of the teeth, making it challenging to properly break down food and achieve an efficient bite.

Jaw and Facial Asymmetry

In some cases, crossbite can cause jaw and facial asymmetry. This occurs when the misalignment affects the position and alignment of the jaw, resulting in an uneven appearance of the face and jawline.

Speech Problems

Crossbite can also have an impact on speech. The misalignment of the teeth can affect the position of the tongue and the ability to articulate certain sounds, leading to speech difficulties or a lisp.

Tooth Sensitivity

Individuals with crossbite may experience tooth sensitivity, especially if the misalignment causes excessive pressure or wear on certain teeth. This sensitivity can be triggered by hot or cold foods and drinks.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues

Crossbite can contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues. The misalignment can place stress on the TMJ, leading to jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds when opening and closing the mouth, and limited jaw movement.

Diagnosing Crossbite

Proper diagnosis is essential for determining the appropriate treatment approach for crossbite. There are several key components involved in diagnosing crossbite:

Dental Evaluation

A dental evaluation is the first step in diagnosing crossbite. Your dentist will examine your teeth and bite, looking for signs of misalignment, tooth wear, and facial asymmetry. X-rays may be taken to evaluate the position and alignment of your teeth and jaws.

Orthodontic Evaluation

An orthodontist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of dental and facial irregularities, including crossbite. They will assess your bite and determine the severity and type of crossbite you have. They may use various orthodontic tools, such as models and photographs, to aid in their evaluation.

Medical History Assessment

Your medical history plays an important role in diagnosing crossbite. Certain factors, such as a history of oral habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting) or previous dental and orthodontic treatment, can contribute to the development of crossbite. Providing your orthodontist with a comprehensive medical history will help guide the diagnosis and treatment planning.

Potential Complications of Untreated Crossbite

If left untreated, crossbite can lead to various complications and negative effects on oral health. It is important to understand the potential risks associated with untreated crossbite:

Dental Problems

Untreated crossbite can result in dental problems such as tooth wear, tooth fractures, and bone loss around the affected teeth. The misalignment of the teeth can cause uneven distribution of forces during chewing, leading to excessive wear on certain teeth and potential damage.

Oral Health Issues

Crossbite can contribute to poor oral hygiene and increased risk of cavities and gum disease. Misaligned teeth can make it difficult to effectively clean the teeth and gums, leading to plaque buildup and oral health issues.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Untreated crossbite can put stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), leading to the development of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). TMD can cause jaw pain, headaches, and limited jaw movement, impacting overall quality of life.

Psychological Impact

Crossbite can have a psychological impact on individuals, especially during developmental years. The visible misalignment of the teeth can affect self-esteem and confidence, leading to potential social and emotional challenges.

Non-Invasive Treatment Options

Depending on the severity and type of crossbite, non-invasive treatment options may be recommended. These treatments aim to address the misalignment without the need for surgical intervention:

Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or aligners, is commonly used to correct crossbite. Braces apply gentle pressure to shift the teeth into proper alignment, while aligners use a series of clear, removable trays to gradually move the teeth. Orthodontic treatment can effectively correct crossbite and improve overall oral health.

Removable Appliances

In some cases, removable appliances may be used to correct crossbite. These appliances, such as plates or retainers, can help correct mild to moderate crossbite by guiding the teeth into proper alignment. They are typically worn for a specific amount of time each day and adjusted as needed.

Orthopedic Devices

Orthopedic devices, such as palatal expanders, can be utilized to address crossbite. These devices apply gentle pressure to the palate or jawbone, gradually widening the dental arches to create more space for the teeth. Orthopedic devices are commonly used in growing children to address crossbite.

Expansion Techniques

Expansion techniques involve widening the dental arches to correct crossbite. This can be achieved through various methods, such as rapid maxillary expansion or slow expansion using orthodontic appliances. Expansion techniques can help create adequate space for proper tooth alignment.

Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional therapy focuses on improving oral muscle function and coordination. This therapy involves specific exercises and techniques aimed at correcting harmful oral habits and promoting proper tongue posture and swallowing patterns. Myofunctional therapy can be beneficial in the treatment of certain types of crossbite.

Invasive Treatment Options

In more severe cases of crossbite, invasive treatment options may be necessary to achieve proper alignment:


Surgical intervention may be required to correct crossbite involving the jawbone or facial asymmetry. This may include orthognathic surgery, which involves repositioning the jaws to achieve proper alignment. Surgery is typically recommended for adult patients with skeletal discrepancies causing crossbite.

Tooth Extraction

In some cases, tooth extraction may be necessary to create space for proper tooth alignment and correction of crossbite. This is often considered as a last resort when other treatment methods have been deemed insufficient.

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, may be recommended for severe crossbite cases that cannot be effectively corrected through other means. This surgical procedure involves repositioning the jaws to align the teeth and achieve proper bite alignment.

Orthodontic Intervention in Children

Early intervention is key when it comes to correcting crossbite in children. Orthodontic intervention in children typically involves the following approaches:

Early Orthodontic Evaluation

An early orthodontic evaluation is recommended for children around the age of 7. This evaluation allows the orthodontist to assess the child’s dental and skeletal development and detect any signs of crossbite or other orthodontic issues.

Interceptive Orthodontics

Interceptive orthodontics aims to intercept and address orthodontic problems at an early stage. In the case of crossbite, interceptive orthodontics may involve the use of functional appliances or orthopedic devices to correct the misalignment before it becomes more severe.

Guidance for Erupting Teeth

Orthodontists can provide guidance for the eruption of permanent teeth to prevent or correct crossbite. This may involve monitoring the growth and eruption of teeth and using orthodontic appliances to guide them into proper alignment.

Braces and Retainers

Braces and retainers are commonly used in children to correct crossbite. Braces apply gentle pressure to gradually shift the teeth into proper alignment, while retainers are used to maintain the corrected position after the braces are removed.

Orthodontic Intervention in Adults

Orthodontic intervention is not limited to children and can be effective in treating crossbite in adults as well. The following approaches are commonly used for orthodontic intervention in adults:

Orthodontic Assessment

An orthodontic assessment involves a comprehensive evaluation of the adult patient’s dental and skeletal structure to determine the best treatment plan for correcting crossbite. This may include X-rays, photographs, and impressions of the teeth.

Braces and Aligners

Braces and aligners, such as clear aligners, are effective treatment options for adults with crossbite. These orthodontic appliances use gradual pressure to move the teeth into proper alignment. Clear aligners offer a discreet and convenient option for adults seeking orthodontic treatment.

Retainers and Follow-up Care

After the completion of orthodontic treatment, the use of retainers is crucial to maintain the corrected alignment of the teeth. Retainers help prevent relapse and ensure long-term stability. Regular follow-up appointments with the orthodontist are also necessary to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments.

Post-Treatment Care and Maintenance

After undergoing crossbite treatment, proper post-treatment care and maintenance are essential to ensure long-term success:

Wearing Retainers

Wearing retainers as prescribed by the orthodontist is crucial to maintain the corrected alignment of the teeth. Retainers should be worn consistently and as instructed to prevent relapse and ensure the stability of the treatment outcome.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Regular dental check-ups are important for monitoring the overall oral health and the stability of the crossbite correction. Dentists will assess the alignment of the teeth, examine the condition of the bite, and address any concerns or issues that may arise.

Good Oral Hygiene Practices

Maintaining good oral hygiene practices is essential for the long-term health of the teeth and gums. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using fluoride toothpaste. Proper oral hygiene can help prevent cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems.

Long-Term Outlook

With appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment care, the long-term outlook for individuals with crossbite is positive:

Successful Correction of Crossbite

Crossbite can be successfully corrected through various treatment options. Orthodontic interventions, such as braces or aligners, can effectively align the teeth and achieve proper bite alignment. In more severe cases, surgical interventions may be necessary to achieve optimal results.

Importance of Follow-up Care

Follow-up care is crucial to monitor the stability of the correction and address any relapse or complications that may arise. Regular check-ups with the orthodontist and dentist will ensure the long-term success of the treatment and help maintain optimal oral health.

Monitoring Growth and Development

In the case of crossbite treatment in children, monitoring growth and development is essential. This allows orthodontists to guide the eruption of permanent teeth, address any skeletal discrepancies, and ensure proper alignment of the jaws and teeth as the child grows.

In conclusion, crossbite is a dental condition that can have significant impacts on oral health and overall well-being if left untreated. Understanding the definition, types, signs, and symptoms of crossbite is crucial for early detection and treatment. With advancements in orthodontic treatment options, individuals with crossbite can achieve proper alignment of their teeth and improve their oral health and quality of life. Regular dental and orthodontic check-ups, along with good oral hygiene practices, are necessary for the long-term success and maintenance of crossbite correction. Don’t hesitate to consult with a dental professional if you suspect you or your child may have crossbite, as early intervention can lead to more successful treatment outcomes.

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Jakob Larson

Greetings and welcome! I'm delighted you've taken the time to explore what fuels my drive in this awe-inspiring journey we call life. I am Jakob Larson, a Norwegian native enchanted by the scenic beauty of my homeland. Today, I've rooted myself in the equally stunning but sun-drenched surroundings of Florida. As I've navigated through the corridors of different cultures and landscapes, my deepest passion—dentistry—has remained steadfast. It is my core belief that an exceptional smile is a gateway to a healthier, happier you, both mentally and physically. Sharing this transformative ethos is not just what I do, it's who I am.

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