A crossbite, which involves one or more of the top teeth sitting behind the bottom ones, can contribute to several dental health issues. Fortunately, the condition can be corrected using a number of methods, including invisible aligners and braces. Read on to explore the different options available for fixing a crossbite.
“In minor cases, a crossbite can be fixed with clear aligners,” Mahnaz Rashti, DDS, a periodontist in Beverly Hills, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
“[Aligners] cause a barrier between the teeth and force them to shift into the desired position. Clear aligners have a minimal amount of force, which is why they are only effective for small crossbites.”
A 2020 article published in the Taiwanese Journal of Orthodontics notes that a narrow upper jaw is commonly associated with misalignment issues like crossbite. Therefore, expansion of the upper jaw can be an important part of crossbite correction.
Casey Lau, DDS, co-founder of ELIMS, tells WebMD Connect to Care that, when an expansion of only a few millimeters is required, clear aligners are one of the best and easiest appliances for correcting a crossbite in adults.
“There is greater patient acceptance, better oral hygiene (meaning that keeping teeth clean is easier), and really good control of the amount of expansion. They are much better than braces without expansion screws and way more comfortable than cemented expansion appliances,” Lau explains.
If you have a crossbite and narrow jaws, your doctor could also recommend a palatal expander. A palatal expander is an oral appliance that expands the roof of the mouth and widens the upper jaw, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.
“Palate expanders are a great option to increase the size of the upper jaw to allow the teeth to form over the lower teeth. They create more space in the mouth for the teeth to comfortably fit in. Once the treatment is complete, the patient would then require braces to correct the position of the teeth,” Rashti explains.
Most dental misalignment issues can be corrected with braces. Braces are a fixed orthodontic appliance composed of brackets, wires, and bands. Metal or tooth-colored brackets are glued to your teeth and a wire runs through them.
“Braces are great for fixing crossbites as the wires pull the teeth into the desired position using a calculated force,” Rashti says.
If you have a crossbite that cannot be corrected with aligners or braces alone, you might need jaw surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, can rectify the irregularities in your upper and lower jaw bones and bring them into correct alignment. It is a major procedure that typically requires a hospital stay and weeks of recovery.
“For severe cases of crossbites, jaw surgery may be required to align the jaws properly. Once the patient heals from the surgery, they would then require braces to straighten the teeth as well,” Rashti says.
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