The umbrella term for misaligned teeth is malocclusion, of which there are many types. Crossbite is the type of malocclusion that occurs when one or more teeth on one jaw don’t line up properly with the corresponding teeth on the lower jaw. For example, when a patient with crossbite brings the jaws together, a front tooth may rest slightly inside the corresponding tooth on the lower jaw. “Inside” refers to the side of the tooth closest to the tongue, rather than the lips.
Crossbite is a serious type of malocclusion that requires treatment. Otherwise, it can be associated with other dental complications, including temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), gum recession, worn down tooth enamel, and loosening of the teeth. It can even result in asymmetry of the face and jaw. Fortunately, there are effective ways to correct crossbite. The treatment option a dentist may recommend depends in part on the patient’s age.
A palatal expander may be used on children who are still growing. As the name suggests, it quite literally expands the upper palate. It’s an oral appliance firmly attached to the upper palate. Patients are instructed to use a special “key” inserted into a tiny hole in the device. The correct application of the key slightly expands the appliance, which in turn, gradually widens the upper palate and encourages the correct alignment of the teeth. After this treatment is completed, patients will generally wear braces or Invisalign trays.
Head gear is probably the least desirable option in terms of aesthetics. It’s usually only recommended for children and teens, as it’s intended to either increase or decrease the rate at which the jaws grow. Head gear consists of a device worn on the head and face, which attaches to the teeth with precisely placed wires. The device is removable, but must be worn for the prescribed number of hours each day in order to be effective.
If the teeth are only slightly misaligned, then a cosmetic surgeon may recommend certain restorations. Capping the affected teeth with crowns or adding bonding material to reshape the teeth may be good options, especially if the patient is an adult who won’t respond well to palatal expansion.
Invisalign is another excellent option for adults and teens with crossbite, especially for those who want good results without having to undergo oral surgery or wear bulky oral appliances. Invisalign treatment involves wearing a series of clear, custom-made aligners. Patients will switch to the next aligner in the series about every two weeks. Invisalign is as effective as metal braces for correcting malocclusion, and patients won’t have to worry about having that “metal mouth” look.
Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry is pleased to be an authorized provider of the popular Invisalign clear aligners in Suffolk County, NY for patients who desire a straighter, more functional and beautiful smile. Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot offer a full suite of dentistry services in Long Island, NY, including children’s dentistry and oral surgery. Get in touch today at 631.319.7891 and let us know how we can help you love your smile again.
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