We have heard about open bites, but what is a cross bite? It is a clinical condition where the upper and lower teeth are improperly aligned with those of the opposing arch.

What causes cross bites?

  • The most common cause of a cross bite is heredity.
  • Another cause is the jaw and the teeth size mismatch.
  • A major contributing factor to cross bites is delayed shedding of milk teeth in children. The permanent teeth always follow the path created by the shed teeth. In cases where the milk teeth shedding is delayed, the permanent teeth often erupt either ahead or behind it.
  • In some cases, the child begins to mouth breathe due to few reasons. While mouth breathing, inadvertently, the teeth and jaws are affected and can cause a cross bite.

  • An injury to the milk teeth or jaws can lead to the permanent teeth changing their path of eruption and leading to development of a cross bite.
  • Cross bites can be seen in both front teeth and back teeth, can be seen with just one teeth or half an arch, and can be unilateral or bilateral.

What can happen with uncorrected cross bites?

A cross bite can be just dental or dental and skeletal. A cross bite that is uncorrected and very evident, can be unaesthetic. In many cases, the cross bite can lead to functional problems especially in unilateral crossbites extending up to the entire arch. Cross bites are often associated with inefficient chewing, speech defects and subsequent jaw and TMJ problems.

How are cross bites corrected?

Cross bites have a myriad of causes and thus identifying the exact cause and eliminating or correcting it is important. Your orthodontist performs a thorough evaluation using diagnostic aids like x-rays, model analysis and scans to design your treatment plan. Cross bites are mostly always corrected using fixed orthodontics. A developing cross bite can be prevented or rectified using removable plates.

Take your child for regular checkups with your dentist. This way a developing anomaly or defect can be identified and corrected in time.

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