Study of a patient experiencing crossbite on multiple anterior teeth

Crossbite Treatment: All You Should Know (2023)

Written by Rawan Nazer | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shaista Salam, BDS, Dr. Zein El Hammouz, DDS, MFD/RCSI

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Table of Contents 

1. What is a crossbite?

2. Types of crossbite

3. Causes of crossbite

4. What problems does crossbite cause?

5. Crossbite treatment


What is a crossbite?

Crossbite is a type of dental malocclusion that affects dental alignment. This condition occurs when the upper teeth do not align correctly with the lower teeth when the jaws are fully closed.


How does the shape of a jaw with a crossbite differ from the shape of a normal jaw?

Yes, the shape of the jaw is different when comparing them. The ideal bite of the teeth is when the upper teeth line up in front of the lower ones when the jaws are closed. In the case of a crossbite, the jaw changes shape due to improper teeth alignment.


Types of crossbite:

  1. Crossbite of the back teeth (on one or both sides)
  2. Crossbite of some front teeth
  3. Crossbite on a single tooth
  4. Underbite (crossbite of the entire front teeth)


Lateral view of a posterior crossbite case showing a prominent hole between the upper and lower teeth as a consequence of the bite defect
Posterior crossbite
Single tooth anterior crossbite real case in which the patient can not have an adequated bite
Single tooth anterior crossbite
Picture of a real case of underbite in which the upper front teeth are behind the lower ones

Causes of crossbite

  • Genetics- If one of the parents had a crossbite, then it is likely that the children will also have a crossbite.
  • Oral Habits - Mouth breathing and thumb sucking until late infancy.
  • Loss of one or more primary teeth before the eruption of permanent teeth.
  • Using a baby pacifier for more than three years of age

What are the problems caused by crossbites?

One of the symptoms of a crossbite is teeth misalignment. For example, one tooth may be positioned behind the other, or you may have several teeth that are not appropriately positioned.

Crossbite can cause aesthetic problems, chewing problems, toothache, headache, sleep apnea, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. 

Failure to treat the crossbite increases a person's susceptibility to other dental diseases. Since it is difficult to maintain regular dental hygiene, this also increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Crossbite treatment in children and adults

Crossbite treatment depends on several factors, such as the patient's age. The younger the patient, the better the outcome of crossbite treatment. Treatment also depends on the complexity of the condition.

Image of a single tooth crossbite case as part of the evaluation process prior to treatment


Crossbite can be treated through orthopedic interventions, and the type of treatment depends on the severity of the crossbite and the patient's age.

Here are some common methods used to correct a crossbite:

• Palatal expanders: Palatal expanders widen the upper jaw, creating more space for the teeth.

• Teeth Extraction: If crowded teeth contribute to a crossbite, extracting one or more teeth can create the space needed for the teeth to align properly.

• Jaw surgery: Surgical treatment is usually limited to severe cases where a skeletal problem causes the crossbite.

• Removable devices: Removable devices such as aligners in conjunction with functional devices can also correct the crossbite.

• Fixed Metal braces: Traditional braces can be used to correct crossbites. Braces also apply continuous pressure on the teeth to move them into the correct position.

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Does a crossbite require emergency treatment?

Crossbite is not an emergency case, but it may lead to other problems depending on its severity. You may be more susceptible to other dental diseases if you decide not to treat the crossbite. It is difficult to maintain clean teeth when they are not straight, leaving the teeth at an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Other problems include poor aesthetics, chewing difficulties, toothache, jaw ache, headache, and slurred speech.

Can clear aligners treat a crossbite? How long is the treatment?

Yes, clear aligners can treat a crossbite effectively.  Your  Eon-Certified Doctor will study your case and determine a proper treatment plan. The duration of treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the patient's compliance with the doctor's instructions.

Click here to contact your nearest Eon-certified doctor. 

How much does it cost to treat crossbite with braces?

The cost of treating a crossbite case with braces ranges from $3000-$7000. Whereas the cost of treating a crossbite case with clear aligners ranges from $4000- $7400, which is almost the same. We at Eon Aligner, offer flexible payment plans to allow paying through installments over several months. Click here to talk to our team and learn about our flexible case packages.

What is the appropriate age for crossbite treatment?

If the crossbite was diagnosed during childhood, treatment can begin before age 10, as the jaw is still developing. Palate expanders can be used to widen the roof of the mouth and treat the crossbite. Orthotics or a traction device behind the head may also be used for treatment. (6)

Does crossbite treatment change the shape of the face?

Yes, crossbite treatment changes the shape of the face and your smile to make it more aesthetically pleasing. 

What is the fastest way to treat crossbite?

The goal is to treat the crossbite correctly and with stability  without the need for speed. The dentist will decide the best and most successful way to solve the problem.

Is it possible for a crossbite to improve on its own?

A crossbite does not straighten on its own, so early treatment is crucial to prevent  jaw and dental problems from developing. Crossbites are best treated in childhood when the jaw and face are still developing. Adults can also correct a crossbite and prevent potential problems.

What is the possibility of a relapse after treating a crossbite?

Relapse after treatment is possible if the patient does not follow the doctor's instructions and treatment plan.

Does a crossbite cause headaches?

Yes, crossbite is closely related to headaches due to muscle fatigue, which work hard while chewing to compensate for the misaligned jaw. The case becomes more complicated if the patient also suffers from temporomandibular joint(TMJ).

Does a crossbite cause a change in the shape of the face?

Yes, a crossbite changes the shape of the face due to the irregular position of the jaw and teeth.



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