Front and Back Teeth Cross Bite

A cross bite is not usually obvious to an untrained eye. To understand what a cross bite looks like, it is important to understand how teeth come together (occlusion). The top teeth (maxillary) are supposed to slightly overlap the lower teeth (mandibular), and the inner cusps of the top teeth fit into the grooves of the lower teeth. An anterior cross bite is when the front maxillary teeth are behind the front mandibular teeth. A posterior cross bite is when the maxillary molars outer cusps are sitting inside the grooves of the mandibular molars.

Pacifier with a baby crying and reaching for it in the background. Cross bites can happen for many reasons. A cross bite can be hereditary. A child who uses a pacifier or is a thumb sucker can potentially develop an anterior cross bite. A mouth breather can develop a posterior cross bite. The earlier the issue is detected, the easier this issue is to correct. Since children’s jaws are still developing, treatment will require expanding the upper jaw.

Correcting a Cross Bite May Require:

  • A Palatal Expander

    A palatal expander is worn on the roof of the mouth, and as the name implies, will expand the palate to make space. A small key is inserted into a space in the expander and turned on a daily basis. This will be worn for several months either before or during the placement of braces

  • Surgery is Usually Required in Adults When a Cross Bite is Not a Minor Problem

    Surgery is usually required in adults when a cross bite is not a minor problem. The lower jaw, the mandible, is moved forward, and/or the upper jaw, the maxilla, is moved back. This brings the bite into proper alignment. Braces will be worn in conjunction with the treatment

If a cross bite is not corrected, it can lead to TMJ issues, loose teeth, receding gums, wear, or asymmetry of the face.

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