Crossbite is a specific form of tooth and jaw misalignment in which the upper teeth lie wholly or partially within the lower teeth when biting rather than enclosing them like the lid of a shoebox. This can occur on one side of the bite (lateral crossbite) and in the front area (frontal crossbite or underbite).
Crossbites can have various causes. These include genetic factors but also developmental disorders such as uneven jaw growth, premature loss of baby teeth or poor oral habits such as thumb sucking in childhood. Crossbite is often the result of an upper jaw that is too small.
Types of Crossbite:
There are two types of crossbite. A unilateral crossbite occurs when misalignment occurs on one side of the teeth. In a bilateral crossbite, both sides are affected. Frontal crossbite affects the front teeth and is less common.
In addition to aesthetic impairments, a crossbite can also cause functional problems. These include difficulty chewing, speech problems, uneven strain on the jaw joint, and possibly jaw pain. In the long term, an untreated crossbite can lead to tooth wear, temporomandibular joint disorders and changes in facial profile.
Diagnosis and treatment:
The diagnosis of a crossbite is usually made through a clinical examination supplemented by imaging techniques such as X-rays. Treatment depends on the patient’s age and the severity of the deformity. In many cases, orthodontic treatment involves special braces or plates. In severe cases with major functional disorders or for adults, jaw surgery may also be necessary.
Treating a crossbite is essential to prevent long-term damage to the chewing apparatus and functional disorders and to improve quality of life. Early detection and treatment are critical to achieve the best results and ensure the health of the entire masticatory system.