It’s well-known and reported that misaligned teeth, including crossbites, have both physical and psychological effects.

Causes, Effects & Treatment of Crossbites

It’s well-known and reported that misaligned teeth, including crossbites, have both physical and psychological effects. These can cause multiple disruptions to daily life and impact the future of oral health. Tooth correction for crossbites is not always recommended for aesthetic purposes but rather to avoid the negative effects of this type of misalignment, like tooth decay, gum disease, chronic headaches, bruxism, and jaw pain. 

image of crossibte

Treating a crossbite from £1,500

Minor crossbites can be treated with braces and invisible aligners like Invisalign, which rarely impact daily life.

Adults prefer clear, removable aligners to fixed, metal braces, which are more discreet and take a shorter time to straighten. Minor misalignment cases can be treated within a few months depending on the extent of the crossbite. 

Orthodontic surgery is generally required when the jaw misalignment is too pronounced and facial symmetry is affected.

Braces, in this instance, will likely be insufficient and would only relieve the symptoms but not the cause of the overbite. Surgery would involve widening the jaw.

Everything you need to know about crossbites

What is a crossbite?

Crossbites are defined by the posterior teeth not meeting or closing correctly when biting down, meaning that the teeth in the upper jaw are too far forward or the upper palate or posterior lower teeth are far too out towards the cheek. 

The three types of crossbites
  • Head bite: Where the cusps of the molars and edges of the front teeth meet.
  • Unilateral crossbite: When the bite is misaligned on one side when the teeth in the upper and lower jaw on the side line up correctly. Common in tilted teeth cases.
  • Bilateral crossbite: When both sides of the teeth are affected, teeth in both the upper and lower jaw do not meet correctly. Narrow upper jaws are usually responsible.
What causes a crossbite
  • Pacifier or thumb sucking 
  • Tongue thrust during swallowing
  • Baby teeth that don’t fall out
  • Early baby tooth loss causes teeth to shift 
  • A small jaw that can’t fit all your teeth
  • The teeth are too big for correct alignment.
  • Cleft palate or lip
  • Genetics
What happens if you ignore a crossbite

First, let us tell you that crossbites should be treated, whether for a child or in adulthood. Their negative effects should not be ignored or underestimated. If you suffer from tension or pain in your jaw joints, it’s a sign to consult a dentist to avoid further complications.

If left untreated, crossbites can cause many problems. For example, in unilateral crossbite cases, one side of the jaw is under extensive strain, causing joint pain and difficulties chewing. In pronounced cases of crossbite, the facial proportions can also shift, leading to a visual imbalance of facial features, and lisps are not uncommon. 

Past crossbite patients have reported problems like headaches, neck pain, tension, migraines and worn-down teeth. Therefore, it’s mostly recommended that treatment occurs as early as possible.

When should you treat a crossbite

It’s recommended that crossbite misalignments are better treated during childhood because the jaw is still developing, and it’s easier to adjust. As crossbites tend to be caused by a narrow upper jaw, in children, it’s easier to enlarge with treatment, often with loose or fixed braces.

It’s possible to treat crossbites in adulthood, although treatment can be more complex depending on the extent of your misalignment, which might require orthodontic surgery.