Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry

How to Fix a Crossbite Smile in Kids

How to Fix a Crossbite Smile in Kids

Reviewed by Dr. Henry Martinez, DMD

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Have you ever looked at someone’s smile and noticed that their upper and lower teeth don’t quite line up? This could be a sign of a crossbite, a common dental issue affecting children and adults. 

But what exactly is a crossbite, and why is it important to address it?

In this blog post, we will explain crossbite, the signs and symptoms of a crossbite, and treatment options.

What is a Crossbite?

A crossbite is a dental condition where the upper teeth are positioned behind the lower teeth when biting down. This misalignment can occur on one side of the mouth (unilateral crossbite) or both sides (bilateral crossbite). It can affect both baby and permanent teeth.

Crossbites are not just a cosmetic issue; they can also lead to oral health problems if left untreated.

Key Takeaway

Crossbite is a dental condition that can impact oral health and aesthetics, but it can be successfully managed with early detection and professional treatment. Treatment options include braces, expanders, Invisalign, and sometimes surgery. successfully managed with early detection and professional treatment. Treatment options include braces, expanders, Invisalign, and sometimes surgery.

Signs and Symptoms of Crossbite

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a crossbite in children is crucial for early intervention and treatment. Here are key indicators to watch out for:

  • Facial asymmetry: One of the less obvious but significant signs of a crossbite is facial asymmetry. This occurs when a crossbite causes uneven jaw growth, leading to a noticeable imbalance in facial features.
  • Wear and tear on teeth: An irregular bite pattern can cause certain teeth to wear more and become sensitive or damaged.
  • Breathing difficulties: Some individuals with a crossbite may experience breathing difficulties, particularly at night. This is often due to the misaligned jaw impacting airways.
  • Changes in smile and facial aesthetics: A bite issue can affect the overall appearance of one’s smile and face. The misalignment might cause the smile to appear crooked or off-center.
  • Altered speech patterns: A crossbite can affect speech, leading to challenges with certain sounds or a noticeable lisp.
  • Increased risk of oral health issues: It can be difficult to maintain proper hygiene with a misaligned bite, so there’s an increased risk of oral health issues like cavities or gum disease.

Common Causes of Crossbite

The main causes of crossbite include:

  • genetics 
  • delayed loss of baby teeth (primary teeth) 
  • abnormal eruption of permanent teeth
  • habits like thumb sucking, using a pacifier, tongue thrust, or abnormal swallowing patterns

These factors can exert pressure on teeth and bones, leading to misalignment​​​​​​.

Why Should a Crossbite Be Treated?

Leaving a crossbite untreated can lead to several complications, such as jaw shifting, uneven jaw growth, tooth enamel wear, gum recession, difficulty in performing proper oral hygiene, and speech impairment. 

It’s not just an aesthetic concern; it can cause physical discomfort and affect overall dental health​​​​​​.

Treatment Options for Crossbite

The treatment for crossbite varies depending on its severity and the patient’s age. Common treatments include:

  • Braces: Metal or acrylic brackets are fixed to adult teeth and connected by wires to realign the teeth over time. After the braces are removed, you are required to wear an orthodontic appliance called a retainer.
  • Elastics: Used in conjunction with braces, these rubber bands connect upper and lower braces during the bite-fixing phase.
  • Invisalign: Clear aligners that gradually move teeth into the correct alignment. Not suitable for all cases.
  • Expanders: These are used to treat narrow or underdeveloped maxillary arches, especially in children, by gradually widening the upper palate.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, especially for adults, orthognathic surgery might be necessary​​​​​​.

Treatment costs can vary widely, from a few thousand dollars for braces to more extensive costs for surgery. Health insurance may cover some of the expenses if the treatment is medically necessary​​.

Crossbite Smile Treatments in Phoenix

Crossbite is more than just an aesthetic issue; it’s a dental health concern that can affect overall well-being. Early detection and intervention are crucial for effective treatment. Regular dental check-ups can help identify crossbites early on, making treatment easier and more effective.

Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry in Phoenix, AZ, offers expert diagnosis and treatment for crossbite in children. Dr. Henry Martinez will assess your child’s bite and recommend the best course of action to achieve a balanced, healthy smile.

If you are searching for a ‘kids dentist near me’ or ‘pediatric dentist in Phoenix,’ we can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services. Let us help your child achieve a beautiful, confident smile! 

Call (602) 935-7427 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form. We can’t wait to meet you! 

For more information about common dental issues in kids, read our blog

Frequently Asked Questions About Crossbite

Can a crossbite correct itself over time?

No, a crossbite typically does not correct itself and requires professional orthodontic treatment. Early intervention can guide proper jaw and tooth alignment in children, but in adults, the condition usually remains stable or may worsen without treatment​​​​.

Are there any long-term consequences if a crossbite is left untreated?

Yes, untreated crossbites can lead to several long-term issues. These include increased wear and tear on teeth, a higher risk of gum disease and tooth decay, jaw pain, and difficulties with chewing and speaking. In severe cases, it can lead to TMJ disorders and affect facial aesthetics​​​​​​.

Is crossbite treatment more effective in children or adults?

Treatment for crossbite is generally more effective and less complicated in children and adolescents. This is because their jaws and teeth are still developing, making them more responsive to corrective procedures like expanders or braces. While adults can still be treated for crossbite, the process may be more complex and sometimes require surgical intervention​​​​.

How long does crossbite treatment typically take?

The duration of crossbite treatment varies depending on the severity of the case, the method of treatment, and the patient’s age. Treatments like braces or Invisalign can take anywhere from several months to a few years. The initial phase may be quicker for children using palatal expanders, but it’s often followed by additional orthodontic work​​​​​​.