Orthodontic appliances can feature heavily in the discussion of intervention for crossbites. It can be a daunting conversation, especially in the case of children and with regards to finances, but it's important to be informed of why crossbites are an issue and what treatment options are available.
What Exactly Is a Crossbite?
Simply put, if any one tooth (or several teeth) lies nearer the tongue or cheek instead of coming together evenly, you’re likely dealing with a crossbite. A crossbite can affect several teeth, or a single tooth, and can occur on either or both sides of the mouth.
What Can Be Done and When Should You Act?
There is debate within the dental community on when to initiate treatment for a crossbite. Some suggest treatment should begin as soon as it is recognized (which can be as early as age three). Others suggest waiting until a child’s sixth year molars have arrived. The only real consensus is that the condition not be left untreated. Doing so presents a host of complications for the child later in life including gum and tooth wear, uneven jaw development, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and facial asymmetry.
What Does Crossbite Treatment Entail?
Crossbite treatment generally involves the use of dental appliances to spread and adjust a child's bite pattern. This can be done with dental expanders (similar in appearance to orthodontic retainers) which include a screw that is tightened nightly to “spread” a child’s bite to a particular width. Additionally, dental facemasks, braces and clear aligners may be used – particularly when a single tooth is out of alignment.
Crossbites are generally regarded as genetic in nature, and they’re not overly common. But they are a condition that needs to be treated before permanent damage to a child’s facial and oral development occurs. If you've been told that your child has a crossbite, listen well and understand your options. Feel free to call our office today at 619-421-2828 and to discuss your treatment options.