What is a crossbite?
There are two types, (1) anterior (2) posterior
A crossbite is an occlusal irregularity where a tooth (or teeth) fit together in an opposite relationship as the other side or the mouth. It is normal for the top teeth to lie outside(or be wider) than the lower teeth. When this situation is reversed, it is called a crossbite.
What causes a crossbite?
Most crossbites in children are caused by prolonged pacifier use or finger/thumb sucking. Because young children are growing their bones are sensitive to outside forces and change shape over time as the habit continues. These habits can also cause other effects such as a high palate, open bite and flared front teeth.
Why should I fix a crossbite?
Early detection and correction of crossbites are important for two reasons.
To recognize and stop the habit to prevent further dental and skeletal effects.
As the child grows with a crossbite, their jaw will be growing asymmetrically. That is to say that the crossbite side will grow slower than the other side and if not corrected will result in a face that is not symmetrical. As an adult, this asymmetry will require orthognathic surgery to correct.
How do you correct a crossbite?
Fortunately, as easy as it is for prolonged habits to alter the bones of young children, it is almost as easy to correct it. Traditionally we use a custom fixed appliance called a rapid palatal expander(RPE) that is placed on the upper back teeth. Every day the appliance is widened a very small amount by using a special wrench. This process goes on for about a month and is painless for the child. The RPE is then removed three to five months later, after bone stabilization has occurred.