Do you find yourself smiling with your lips closed or your hand over your mouth due to your crossbite? When your upper and lower teeth don't meet as they should, it may affect your self-esteem and cause health issues. Fortunately, dental, orthodontic and surgical treatments are available to straighten a misaligned bite and give you a beautiful smile.
Crossbite Correction: How To Straighten Your Smile
A misaligned bite occurs when the upper teeth cover the outside of the lower teeth when they meet. The teeth could be misaligned at any place or throughout the mouth. As well as affecting the appearance of the teeth, lips and mouth, a poor bite can cause headaches, muscle pain, dental decay and gum disease. According to Cochrane, a crossbite in the teeth at the back of the mouth causes teeth grinding, abnormal facial development, jaw problems and wear on the teeth.
The best treatment for a misaligned bite depends on the age of the patient and the cause and type of misalignment. University of Florida Health lists four types of treatment for crossbite:
- Braces and other orthodontic appliances
- Removal of teeth
- Dental restorations
- Jaw surgery
Braces move the upper and lower teeth and straighten them to align the bite in the correct position. Children and adults can both benefit from braces.
Orthodontists increase the size of the upper jaw by fitting palatal expanders. Fixed expanders are attached to the upper molars and are gradually widened using a special key, while removable expanders fit into the upper palate and are worn at night. Removable expanders are suitable for adults who only require a small amount of adjustment.
Headgear is worn on the head and face and attaches to the teeth with wires. The force on the teeth and jaw from the headgear increases or slows the growth of the jaws over time, making this a treatment most effective in children and teenagers.
When treating adults or children, the orthodontist may want to remove teeth to create room to move the lower teeth back before fitting braces.
Capping, bonding and reshaping teeth can improve a mild case of misaligned bite.
Surgical assistance may be the best treatment for adult patients, whose jaws have stopped growing. The surgeon breaks the upper jaw into sections, and after the surgery, the patient wears a device that molds the bone as it heals. The surgeon may also set back the lower jaw.
Caring for your teeth while receiving treatment for a misaligned bite involves preventing the buildup of bacteria and plaque. Bacteria that cause tooth decay thrive in areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush, such as around braces. Avoid sugary, sticky foods and drinks, and rinse with mouthwash to remove food debris and destroy bacteria.
If you don't like the appearance of your smile or if your health is suffering due to a poor bite, talk to a dental professional. Self-consciousness over your misaligned bite can be a thing of the past with the range of treatments available.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.