Crossbite refers to teeth that erupt and function inside or outside
of the opposing dental arch. Anterior crossbites are when the upper
front teeth bite behind the lower front teeth. Posterior crossbites
are when the upper back teeth bite either inside or outside of the
lower back teeth. Crossbites can be individual or groups of teeth.
Posterior crossbites can be caused by narrowing of either jaw due to inheritance,
oral habits such as tongue thrust, finger sucking and mouth breathing
related to enlarged tonsils or allergies. The change in tongue
posture that results from these oral habits results in narrowing of
the upper jaw and the development of crossbites. Crossbites of anterior
teeth can result from crowding of the teeth due to insufficient room,
retained baby teeth causing deflection of the adult tooth or abnormal
facial growth problems.
Crossbites can be very damaging to the teeth.
They cause excessive occlusal wear of the teeth,
lead to jaw joint discomfort (TMJ) and cause periodontal problems.
Crossbites are usually corrected as early as possible to minimize
adverse consequences. In children and adolescents, expansion can
be done with fixed or removable appliances whereas in adults, moderate
crossbites can usually be corrected orthodontically and severe crossbites
may require surgical expansion.