Orthodontic Problems and Solutions: Crossbite

It is important for patients to know what kind of orthodontic problems they may have, as this is the only way to make sure that they can make informed choices about their dental treatment.   Depending on what kind of orthodontic problem you have, your treatment can last from six months to three years, and the costs that are incurred vary greatly. This is why these series of articles wish to articulate what kind of orthodontic problems exist, what their solutions are, and what kind of costs and treatment times can be expected. As each case varies greatly, the final say will be made by your orthodontist, but these articles should give the patient a general idea of what to expect.
Today we will be examining the problem of crossbite.


What is crossbite?

Crossbite is a problem of the bite. This means when you are chomping down, the antagonist teeth do not link up neatly. In the case of crossbite, a tooth will be closer to the tongue or the cheek than its antagonist tooth (the tooth it’s supposed to link up with). This is a problem because it damages the tooth and subjects it to undo wear and tear, and the constant rubbing of the teeth when biting damages the enamel.  Crossbite can involve just a single tooth, but more usually it involves a group of teeth, or an entire arch.  A crossbite can be anterior (if it is in the front six teeth) or posterior (if it involves any of the molars), and can be unilateral (meaning that involves only one of the arches) or bilateral (meaning that it involves both the tooth in question and its antagonist in the opposite row). Unilateral crossbite almost only occurs in the rear teeth, and almost only in children. It is quite challenging to cure it in adults. Many times the crossbite is caused by bad habits during youth like finger sucking or the extreme use of a dummy.  

How do you treat crossbite?

Crossbite is a routine orthodontic problem, and its solution involves routine orthodontic treatment. Therefore, it can be cured with a number of orthodontic appliances, including traditional fixed braces, clear aligners, removable appliances, a quad helix or a Delaire mask. Crossbites usually take around one year to align in children, and can take up to one and a half as much to rectify in adults, under normal conditions. 

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