Hundreds of thousands of people in the word are suffering from several dental issues everyday, and one of the most known palate problems is the crossbite.
What is a crossbite ? what causes is ? is there any indications or signs to figure it out ? how does it affect my dental situation ? what are the types of crossbites ? How to fix it ? and finally, How much does it cost ?
Those must be the typical questions that comes to your mind whenever you think about crossbites and apparently, it’s a lot to process !
That is why i did this guide for you trying to cover all the small details related to this sensitive topic, starting from defining the issue to mentioning all the possible treatment methods and the costs ( even the insurance details).
So be ready and let’s get started !
1)- WHAT IS A CROSSBITE ?
Basically, it is a misalignment of one tooth or groups of teeth which are in the wrong position,(upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth) whether they are closer to the tongue, or in other cases it may be closer to the chick instead of their natural true position.
This misalignment sometimes happens for the front teeth, sometimes with the back teeth, and in some rare cases, it can be in both places.
A crossbite is usually present in childhood, and it doesn’t get fixed when the patient is growing up which may affect his health in a way or another.
Having a crossbite will prevent you from closing your mouth properly which makes it very difficult for patients to eat or even talk !
Crossbite can also psychologically affect your emotions leading you to lose your confidence.
The treatment for people who are suffering from crossbites is extremely necessary ! because it can cause the jaw improper growth (bigger side of the jaw than the other one) which affects your facial structure generally and may lead to dangerous dental situations in the future.
2)- WHAT CAUSES A CROSSBITE ?
Delayed / Abnormal Teeth Eruption :
Mostly, crossbite is a genetics problem but it also can be a result of delayed loss of baby teeth and abnormal eruption of permanent teeth.
Let me explain, normally, babies teeth fall out and gets replaced with permanent teeth, however in some situations teeth grows in before the baby teeth falls which causes misaligning the jaw.
Thumb Sucking :
As everyone knows, babies favorite toy is their thumbs, but sucking too much may lead to teeth alignment problems.
Th reason this happens is that sucking thumbs will decrease the baby palate’s width which deforms the bone in the upper part of the palate causing some serious problems !
Mouth Breathing :
You must be wondering how the heck is mouth breathing going to affect my child’s palate ?
Then i will tell you that breathing from the nose while mouth is close leads the tongue to rest against the roof of the palate, which helps the children to grow their upper jaw properly.
Did you get it ?
Yeah, doing the opposite and using the mouth instead of the nose when breathing will unfortunately make the upper jaw too small and this may even cause swollen tonsil problems !
3)- WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF CROSSBITE ?
- Suffering from serious heavy headache.
- Frequently biting your inner chick or tongue.
- When you face speaking difficulties and lisp while you talk.
- If you feel pain in your jaw/teeth.
- When the two lines of teeth don’t touch each other properly.
4)- WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF CROSSBITE ?
There are several types of a Crossbites, and to classify and describe a specific type of a crossbite, there are some indicators and metrics we must understand first to help us diagnose the situation, these factors are :
- How many teeth are affected and need correction.
- Where is the exact place of the affected teeth in the patient’s mouth.
- The affected teeth’s position.
Anterior Crossbite :
It is an orthodontic situation where the top front teeth are behind the lower front teeth (pretty much similar to an underbite but a little bit different)
Things that may cause an anterior crossbite are :
- Childhood habits: many things a child does can affect his jaw causing him an anterior crossbite such as thumbs sucking.
- Mouth breathing instead of the nose: this can prevent the tongue from helping the upper jaw to get wider.
- Cleft Lip surgery : One of the side effects of this surgery is the ability to stop the upper teeth from developing.
- Crowded teeth: having crowded teeth on your lower jaw could be one of the biggest reasons of anterior crossbite.
Note that it doesn’t have for all the front upper teeth to be behind the lower ones, is some cases, this happens only for few teeth.
Posterior Crossbite :
It is exactly the opposite of an anterior crossbite, which is when the upper front teeth comes in front of the lower front teeth.
Now beside the previously mentioned causes of anterior crossbite, another thing that may cause posterior crossbite is the late falling of child teeth and the grow of adult teeth in the wrong position.
- Posterior crossbite are much easier to fix if caught early.
- The note up there is also applied to the posterior crossbite.
Researches found that 8-16 percent of children have a posterior crossbites.
Lingual Crossbite :
In other word as some people loves to call it : “Scissor Bite”, It’s when the buccal cusps of the lower teeth occlude lingual to the lingual cusps of the upper teeth, as we already said, this term is known also as Scissor Bite.
Buccal Crossbite :
It is exactly the opposite of the lingual crossbite, you can figure out if you have such problem by using your tongue to feel the biting are of your inner teeth when your mouth is colsed.
Single Tooth :
When one of the front teeth moves forward too much or an upper tooth moves towards the inside of your mouth, then you are suffering from what we call : Single tooth
It affects only one tooth no more !
Segmental tooth :
It’s a case when few teeth moves out toward the cheek or inwards towards the tongue, it affects only few teeth (2-3).
Bilateral/Unilateral Crossbite :
A Bilateral crossbite is typically a result of underdeveloped maxilla which is when the both sides of the mouth gets affected unlike the unilateral crossbite where there is only one affected side of the mouth.
5)- CROSSBITE EFFECTS :
Having a misaligned bite will cause people serious dental problems regardless to the emotional (losing self confidence), that is why it is so important for people to fix it as soon as possible to avoid all the possible effects a crossbite leads to, some of those problems are :
Tooth Decay :
What is a tooth decay ?
It is an orthodontic situation in which the teeth’s surface is heavily damaged because of the bacteria acids in the mouth, tooth decay can lead to infection, pain, cavities, even teeth loss and a dozen of various problems !
A crossbite can be one of the main reasons of tooth decay, issue cause of the difficulty patient’s face when they brush their teeth, therefore, bacteria will easily find their way to the teeth damaging it and causing a tooth decay problem to the patient.
Painful Bites :
Simply, this thing is going to prevent you from enjoying your favorite food especially fruits like apples,and the reason is the huge amount of pain you feel when you bite literally anything !
The Headache :
As you may already know, teeth are not only for food, there is another reason why god created your teeth exactly in your mouth and not somewhere else !
The reason is that teeth support facial muscles and they are linked to human’s brain, the low part of the neck and also shoulders !
If you can understand what i said then you must be aware of the serious effects crossbite does to the mentioned regions of your body.
Misaligned jaws creates tension on the jaw muscles and joints which are in touch with your brain, neck and shoulders and Voila ! you know the rest.
6)- HOW TO FIX A CROSSBITE ?
The best time to go for a crossbite treatment is the childhood, however this doesn’t mean adults can’t get their crossbites fixed, but the coices in such age are limited because the patient’s jaws and teeth are already fully developed and hard to fix unlike children.
I am going to talk in details about the treatment options and protocols that are available to fix a crossbite, there are Six methods to fix a crossbite, each one has its own conditions and results.
Tooth Extraction :
In cases where the crossbite is only because of single misaligned tooth, Tooth extraction treatment is your best inexpensive free of pain choice !
Removing the tooth that is causing all these problems then replacing him later is the easiest solution to go with in my opinion, it’s better than palatal expansion or braces which are very expensive and makes you uncomfortable for a long time !
The cost of a simple tooth extraction is between 75$ to 200$ per tooth depending on the area where you live, while an impacted tooth extraction could be more expensive and may cost you up to 800$
Invisalign (Clear aligners) :
We already discussed this protocol before in the Palate Expansion Guide , Invisalign is a common technique for orthodontists to deal with cases such as crossbite, underbite, overbite, impacted teeth, and a lot of palate problems
Clear aligners is considered as one of the most well known effective and safe methods to fix crossbites and other serious orthodontic situations, and it is based on aligners covering the upper and lower teeth linesallowing the teeth in crossbite to easily move.
Invisalign braces can cost you about 4400$ to 9000$ depending on the patient’s age and how much time you wear them.
Here is a video from David Orthodontics that explains well how invisalign works and how to take care of your aligners.
In most cases, braces are a great solution to fix a crossbite, especially when it is a matter of just few teeth, braces will just get the job done without the need of any other appliances.
Using braces will give you 100% of the desired results when applied for children, starting from 7 years to 12 years old.
If you are worried about your child’s look after wearing braces, invisalign and lingual braces are highly recommended due to their transparency so the mouth will have more natural look.
Braces cost can be decided depending on few factors like the length of time (one year, two years..) , the type of braces (metal, ceramic .. ), the age of patient and finally the payment plans your orthodontist offer ( for more details about the costs have a look at the palate expander cost guide )
But usually, the price (before insurance cover) is around 3300$ and can increase up to 10000$ depending on the type.
Palatal Expansion :
There are five types of palatal expansion treatment, but in case of crossbites, the Rapid Palatal Expander with the help of invisalign or traditional braces will perfectly do the job and fix the crossbite.
This treatment is all about widening the upper jaw and expanding the teeth arch give the teeth a chance to move where it has to be.
The cost of a rapid palate expander is between 2000$ and 4000$ and the good news that the insurance will cover most of the costs 😀
Note that this protocol is recommended only with patients suffering from severe crossbite or in adult cases, if the crossbite is not that complicated, you can choose one of the previous options and they should be enough to fix it.
Jaw Surgery :
When it comes to severe crossbite situations, most orthodontists will highly recommend a jaw surgery to fix the crossbite.
This surgery must be proceeded by 12 to 18 months of braces and the wisdom teeth removal (if you have), this is necessary because the operation should be done in the back of the mouth (the upper/lower jaw)
During the operation, the surgeon makes cuts in the jaw then moves it forward, backward or up/down as it requires, and finally, the surgeon use screws and plates to secure the jaw and hold it to make sure it won’t move after the surgery.
The surgery happens inside the mouth so you shouldn’t be worried about your look after the surgery.
A crossbite surgery recovery needs around 12 weeks for the full recovery, it has three stages :
- A Liquid diet for the first week (maybe less)
- 6-12 weeks for the heal.
- Wearing crossbite braces for 6 months further.
A Jaw realignment surgery is very expensive, it costs between 20.000$ to 40.000$ depending on your area. But most private insurance plans will cover most of the price in adult case, for children, as this situation normally gets treated in childhood, Medicaid or CHIP should fully cover the price as it is considered extremely necessary for mouth children health.
Headgear Braces :
Classic orthodontic headgear braces are still a very known effective treatment to fix both jaw and bite alignment issues.
The process can be done by applying pads to the patient’s forehead and chin with a frame between them, shifting the upper jaw forward to align the teeth lines.
Headgear braces cost varies depending on the type and the extent of work being done, but generally, you should expect to pay around 2.000$ and 8.000$
Going for veneers still a good choice for adults with mild crossbite who are looking to change their mouth appearance without going through any weird experiences, but you should know that the costs for such procedure could be more than what a jaw surgery requires !
Veneer price is estimated according to the Consumer Guide To Dentistry to be around 925$ to 2500$ pear each tooth !
I think it’s better in my opinion to fix the crossbite and keep your natural look rather than emptying your pocket for something like this.
You have to understand that fixing a crossbite should be more easy inc childhood period, but it is also can be fixed with adults, treating a crossbite can happen in different options, Braces, palatal expansion, headgear braces, jaw surgery, invisalign braces, the thing in common with all those options is that the treatment process usually include fitting different appliances inside your mouth whether with braces, palatal expansion, metal plates in case of a surgery treatment or any other techniques, this looks really scary at the begining but trust me, the results worth all the pain (by the way you could relieve the pain by following some tips), efforts and money ad remember one thing :
” Pain Is Temporary, Glory Is Forever “
Frequently Asked Questions About Crossbites :
In the last few weeks when i was scrolling websites to see what people are saying about crossbite treatments, i faced a lot of people asking questions about this topic, so i made a list that include the most frequently asked questions about crossbite issue and tried to look for all the answers.
How can i fix a crossbite ?
Depending on the patient’s crossbite type, there are few options to fix it such as palatal expansion, braces, invisalign braces, jaw surgery, tooth extraction, headgear braces.
The most common fix is using the Palate Expander with the help of invisalign braces, but in some cases, invisalign can be used alone to fix a crossbite.
Do i have to be really serious about having a crossbite ? is it really a big deal ?
If you red what i wrote, you must already know that it is extremely danger to leave a crossbite without treatment ! Crossbites prevent jaws from closing properly which make it very difficult for people to speak, eat or even sleep, and beside the emotional effects like losing confidence, a crossbite may lead to dangerous dental complexities !
What Causes A Crossbite ?
Usually it’s a genetic matter, but it also appear because of childhood habits like mouth breathing and thumbs sucking, also delayed loss of baby teeth is one of the main causes of crossbites.
What Is The Best Age To Fix A Crossbite ?
The best age to fix a crossbite is between 7-12 years old.
How long does it take for a crossbite to get fixed ?
Clinically, ita takes up to Four To Five months, but patients should expect more 4-6 months further.
Can Crossbite correct itself ?
Yes ! A crossbite may correct itself, but if the child is already 6 years old and the crossbite is still there, you should immediately take him to an orthodontist and expect orthodontic treatment.
Can i fix a crossbite without going through a jaw surgery ?
It can be fixed using several methods but in some severe situations, a jaw surgery is necessary to fix the crossbite.
How do i know if i have a crossbite ?
By feeling like your upper teeth or tooth is hiding behind your lower arch when you close your mouth.
Can Crossbite cause speech problems ?
Yes, there are few sounds that are challenging to pronounce, and having a misaligned teeth or tooth may affect your speech in this case.
- The Angle Orthodontist: Long-term Stability of Unilateral Posterior Crossbite Correction. Consulted 27th May 2019
- Mayo Clinic: Jaw Surgery. Consulted 27th May 2019
- Science Direct: Crossbite. Consulted 27th May 2019