Crossbites can occur when there is a misalignment of the teeth, resulting in overcrowded or twisted teeth in the mouth. It is essentially a lateral misalignment of the dental arches. Crossbite mainly occurs during childhood, and if not treated early it may have severe effects on a person’s oral health. For people with healthy bites, their lower teeth are a little inside the upper teeth. The opposite occurs for people with misaligned bites. They may either have posterior or anterior bites. In anterior bites, the bottom front teeth are overlapped by the upper teeth. The same occurs in posterior bites with the only difference being the back teeth are now involved.
Common effects caused by misaligned bites
Misaligned bites may lead to serious health issues if they are not checked out at an early stage. They affect not only dental health but also the whole body. Some of the effects include;
- Chronic headaches- The jaw and teeth are created in such a way that they work in harmony with each other. When the teeth are misaligned, the jaw muscles strain to accommodate the teeth. This strain on the jaw muscles leads to constant headaches.
- Pain in the jaws- The jaws consist of temporomandibular joints which help in moving the jaws during activities such as speaking and chewing. Uneven bites destroy these joints causing the temporomandibular joint disorder. The disorder causes a strain in the jaw muscles resulting in pain during eating or speaking.
- Tooth decay- Crossbites cause teeth to loosen after some time. Once the crown of the teeth becomes loose, the teeth become prone to decay and cavities. Tooth loss is another common effect of misaligned bites.
- Tooth sensitivity- contrary to typical bites; underbites and overbites exert a lot of pressure on the teeth. Teeth begin to wear off from the stress and eventually the enamel also erodes. The enamel protects the nerves from the environment, and once it has worn off, you start getting sensitivity in your teeth. The tooth also becomes more prone to tooth decay once the enamel has eroded.
Ways to treat misaligned bites
Treatments for misaligned bites are more productive during childhood or teenage years. It is, therefore, more advisable to seek treatment as early as possible. However, there are a few treatment options for adults with a crossbite. Orthodontic appliances are used to adjust the jaws and teeth into the right position. Some of these appliances include;
- Braces – Used by many teenagers mostly to fix and straighten the lower and upper teeth. Braces help in setting misaligned bites.
- Removable expanders – Used mainly by adults who require little palate expansion. The expanders are won at night and removed in the morning.
- Palatal expanders – It is a device that has a key which when turned expands the upper palate. It is fixed on the upper teeth.
Behavioral therapy and muscle relaxation are also used to return the jaw muscles to their original position.
A crossbite can result in health issues if not fixed. Once you notice the tell-tale signs of a misaligned bite, you should visit your orthodontist to have it repaired.