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Crossbite: Types, Causes, And Treatment

Fixing An Asymmetrical Jaw With Surgery Or Braces

When there is a lateral mismatch between the top and bottom dental arches, it is described as a crossbite. During childhood, dentists can diagnose a case of crossbite. But, it doesn't end in diagnostic testing; treatment options will be sampled and brought forward by your dental care provider. Why? An untreated crossbite can bring about non-uniformity in the alignment of the jaw, and many other dental problems may arise.

Crossbite can be treated using several dental procedures such as braces, surgery, and elastics, amongst others. Your prescribed form of treatment will be dependent on how complicated your case is, and if the crossbite is an anterior or posterior type.

Here, this article will help you to understand the following concepts:

  • Crossbite
  • Crossbite types
  • Ways to correct a crossbite
  • The consequences of leaving a crossbite untreated
  • Ways of correcting crossbite at different ages
  • What's the cost of orthognathic surgery in the UK

We hope that after reading this article, you will fully understand this dental issue and how best it can be treated.

Table Of Contents

  1. Defining a crossbite
  2. Crossbites and its different types
    • Anterior crossbite
    • Posterior crossbite
    • Buccal and lingual crossbite
    • Bilateral and unilateral
    • Single tooth and segmental
  3. The various methods of treating crossbite
  4. What kind of problem can crossbite induce?
  5. Conclusion

Defining A crossbite

The upper and lower arches are supposed to meet uniformly in a bite, but when the top teeth extend abnormally over the bottom teeth, or when the top dental arch retracts a little from where it's supposed to meet the bottom teeth, it is termed a crossbite. When someone has a crossbite, their jaw looks asymmetrical when viewed from without.

Some persons whose genetic formation causes overcrowded teeth may develop crossbite. Thumb sucking, which is a habit most people have can also cause this dental disorder. Due to the different possible causes of crossbite, this issue can be clarified under various terms.

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Crossbites And Its Different Types

The classification of crossbite is dependent on:

  • The number of teeth that's been affected
  • Where they are found in the mouth
  • The position they occupy

Putting all these together, let's take a look at the many different types of crossbite and what they are.

Anterior crossbite

Just like the name implies, this condition impacts the front part of the mouth. It is also referred to as an underbite. What happens in anterior crossbite is that the top teeth stop right behind the bottom teeth at the front; it doesn't go further or overhang the way it should — The reason for this malocclusion could include the following:

  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Thumb sucking
  • Repairs to cleft lips
  • Mouth respiration during childhood

This kind of crossbite is pronounced slightly in that the chin extends forward or the jaw has a non-uniform appearance.

Posterior Crossbite

This type of crossbite happens at the back of the mouth, affecting the rear teeth. Here, the teeth on the upper arch are positioned within the teeth on the lower arch, instead of resting a bit over them. Both anterior and posterior crossbites share the same causes. In addition to that, when the milk teeth don't fall out early, and when the adult teeth grow up in a disorderly manner, it can bring about this dental issue.

Fixing posterior crossbite at an early age is straightforward because the jaws are still developing, and the permanent teeth are in the process of erupting.

Buccal and lingual crossbite

A crossbite is known as buccal if the teeth are bending towards the cheeks. For lingual crossbite, you have the teeth pushing exceedingly inwards in the direction of the tongue. In each of these two dental issues, what is common is that when patients close their mouth, they usually feel so much of the biting surface of the inner tooth.

Bilateral and unilateral

For bilateral crossbite, the two sides of the mouth are impacted. However, when it comes to a unilateral crossbite, just one part of the mouth is affected. These two types of malocclusions will be treated almost the same way, but the method will differ a little.

Single tooth and segmental

It is called single tooth crossbite because it affects just one tooth. When a single tooth on the lower arch (typically one of canine or anterior teeth) protrudes too much, it triggers this condition. And other times, the situation is caused when a top tooth grows towards the inside of the mouth.

As for segmental crossbite, it is only a few and not the entire teeth that don't line up. When this happens, 2 or 3 teeth in a row are usually impacted.

The table below gives a simple description and the impact of each type of crossbite on the teeth.

Type of crossbite



Affects the teeth on the front


Impacts the rear teeth


The teeth are pushed in the direction of  the cheek


The teeth are leaning towards the tongue


A part of the mouth (one side) experience the problem


The impact is on the two sides of the mouth


Just a single tooth is impacted


Just 2to3teethareaffected

The Treatment Options For Crossbite Corrections

Even with several ways, dentists talk about crossbite, treatment options in many cases are alike. Detecting and treating crossbite on time is significant because, at this point in life, there is easy movement of the bones and teeth.

Studies reveal that an early fix of crossbite, especially during childhood yields around 80%chanceofgetting a solution-oriented treatment that may require no additional treatments.

Correcting crossbite using braces

A popular treatment for anterior and posterior crossbites is an orthodontic fix on the upper and lower dental arch.

Crossbite correction using braces usually involves a palate expander. Since a small jaw can cause misaligned teeth, the expander works to stretch the top jaw so that the teeth there can meet with the lower teeth correctly.

This procedure is not a one-time-fix-all thing, so at intervals, the palate expander will be adjusted, and teeth are extended further. But, there exists a fast method of expansion that can reposition the teeth the right way in the space of a few months.

After expanding the palate to the right size, straightening the teeth a little more may become necessary. Various fixed braces types can be employed for this procedure. Upon completion of all the orthodontic treatment, retainers will be used to hold the teeth steady.

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Fixing crossbite without the use of braces

A lot of patients don't agree with the idea of using bonded or metal braces. However, other effective treatment options abound, including Invisalign or clear braces which can fix most dental issues.

The NHS provides cover for only metal braces, so any other treatment aside this will be done privately.

For the treatment of posterior crossbite, elastics are the only fix. More details are provided in the later section of this post.

Can Invisalign correct crossbite?

Crossbite of low severity can be effectively corrected using invisible trays. The advantage of this orthodontic work is the near invisibility of the aligners and the ease of removal. 

Are you interested in fixing crossbite with Invisalign? We can check if you're a suitable candidate for the treatment at our clinic. Need an in-person consultation? Then you should schedule an appointment with any of our dentists.

The Use Of Elastics In Treating Posterior Crossbite

Occasionally, when the teeth at the rear are affected by crossbite, elastics come in handy to treat it. What happens is that the orthodontist will fix a hook to the inside of the upper and lower tooth, respectively; using an elastic band to hold both together.

It moves the rear tooth gently outwards so it can rest very well on the bottom tooth just like it should. Since this work is straightforward, treatment can be done around 3 to 4months time.

Orthognathic Surgery (Jaw Realignment Surgery)

Severe cases of crossbite demand surgical procedure. Although patients may get anxious when it comes to surgery, it's a common and useful process. There is cost coverage for orthognathic surgery for children and some adults by the NHS in the UK.

A total of 12 to 18 months of treatment with braces is required before having jaw surgery. Plus, any wisdom teeth found will be taken out. All that is done to reposition the jaw happens behind the mouth; making this operation necessary.

The dentist will break and realign the jaw during crossbite surgery for children or adults. When that is done, the new jaw will be held firmly in place with screws and plates. Just like we said earlier, the operation takes place inside the mouth so, signs of visible scarring are not visible.

Timeline for orthognathic surgery is 6to12weeks, after which orthodontic work spanning 4to6months may be needed.

It's normal for anxiety to creep in as you watch your face crossbite surgery. To calm your nerves, request that your dentist show you pre- and post-crossbite treatment photos. It would go a long way to give you an idea of what you're about to get.

How Much Will I Pay For Crossbite Realignment Surgery?

As a common practice, crossbite that is treated at childhood is free on the NHS.

For some reasons, you may grow into adulthood and still experience one-sided or two-sided crossbite. The problems linked with the inability to get crossbite fixed may help you get the treatment on the NHS. It is advisable that you have a conversation with your dentist to know what treatment options are available for your case.If you are a suitable candidate for orthognathic surgery on the NHS, you'll get it for £269.30inEngland.

In a situation where adults don't qualify for the NHS jaw realignment surgery and choose to go for private treatment, what happens? The cost of fixing misaligned jaw privately in the UK is a consideration of so many variables which determines what you pay at the end of the day.

Jaw surgery may attract a fee of £2500and more. However, for an accurate quote, you should speak with your surgeon or dentist.

What Kind Of Problem Can Crossbite Induce?

When it comes to appearance, crossbite may not pose a severe problem, but not getting the correction for crossbite can trigger more issues later on. Anterior and posterior crossbites come with a lot of issues, some of which include the following:

  • A jaw that is misaligned
  • Increased chances of tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Extreme wear on gums and teeth
  • Greater chances of bruxism
  • Cheek biting when eating
  • Higher chances of headaches due to tension

Not treating crossbite may have associated risks, and as a result, the possibility of getting orthodontic work on the NHS is large. Check out the NHS website to see what's available for patients.

Will Adults Be Treated For Crossbite?

Most people feel that since they've come of age and still have a crossbite, they can't be treated. That's not true. So the simple response to the above question is yes! What we're saying is there is still time to correct and align your teeth even as an adult.

Do bear in mind that starting from braces to surgery and elastics, all these dental procedures can be useful in correcting cases of a crossbite in adults. Due to its near invisibility, a good number of elderly patients love to fix their crossbite with Invisalign. It makes treatment barely noticeable;  giving you the confidence and peace of mind to carry on with normal activities while the aligners are busy in the background straightening the teeth.


Crossbite is a dental issue affecting all ages. For the case of crossbite, treatment is easier to administer in children than in adults. You may not have heard about crossbite before now, and your dentist's explanation may be a little hard to understand, but you can ask them for clarification in the course of the discussion. Bear in mind that a dental appliance will be always be fitted in your mouth.  It can be hooks, clear trays, metal plates, or any other device depending on the form of treatment that's appropriate. 

You have the option of having crossbite braces and clear aligners to fix the problem of crossbite. Many patients prefer Invisalign for its discreet nature. Like to know if you are the right candidate for clear aligner trays? Please visit your dentist for an eligibility test. They will tell you what's best for you.

Don't have a dentist and would prefer an in-person consultation? Then book an appointment to see any of our experienced dentists to get treatment with optimum results.

Working with our team will give you the very best outcome and peace of mind as we are equipped with most modern dental technology, plus we are friendly, dedicated, and compassionate. 

So, for any crossbite and other dental related issues, you can consult us at London Braces. Our dentist will examine your mouth and recommend the most suitable treatment option for you. Contact us today.

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