Understanding Crossbite: Definition, Causes, & Treatment

In simple terms, crossbite refers to a dental condition where the teeth are misaligned. This misalignment can occur in different ways, such as the upper teeth sitting inside the lower teeth. Crossbite can affect both the aesthetics and functionality of your smile. 

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on understanding crossbite and how it affects dental alignment. If you've ever wondered why your teeth don't align when you close your jaws, you may be experiencing a crossbite.

 In simple terms, crossbite refers to a dental condition where the teeth are misaligned. This misalignment can occur in different ways, such as the upper teeth sitting inside the lower teeth. Crossbite can affect both the aesthetics and functionality of your smile. 

In this article, we'll explore the definition of crossbite, its common causes—from genetic factors to habits—and the various treatment options available. So let's dive in and learn more about this dental concern that can impact your confidence and oral health.


Crossbite is a dental condition that occurs when your teeth are misaligned, causing them to fit irregularly when you close your jaws. This misalignment can be categorized into two types: posterior crossbite and anterior crossbite.

Posterior crossbite refers to the situation where the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth when the jaws are closed. It commonly affects the back teeth, and the upper jaw may appear narrower than the lower jaw.

On the other hand, anterior crossbite involves the front teeth, where the upper front teeth are positioned behind the lower front teeth upon closure. This can affect both the appearance and functionality of your smile.

Understanding the distinction between these two types of crossbite is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment approach.


Several factors can contribute to the development of a crossbite. Let's explore the most common causes:

  • Genetic factors and inheritance: Crossbites can be inherited from your parents. If there is a family history of dental misalignments, you may have an increased risk of developing crossbite.
  • Jaw growth and development: Irregular growth patterns of the jaws can lead to a crossbite. Issues like a narrow upper jaw or a misaligned lower jaw can affect the proper alignment of the teeth.
  • Prolonged habits: Habits such as extended pacifier use, thumb sucking, or tongue thrusting can disrupt the normal development of the jaws and teeth, resulting in a crossbite.
  • Premature loss of primary teeth: Losing baby teeth too early can affect the eruption pattern of permanent teeth, leading to misalignments like crossbite.
  • Rare cases involving oral conditions: A crossbite can sometimes be caused by rare oral conditions, such as tumors or abnormalities affecting the jaw structure.

Understanding these causes can help identify the underlying factors contributing to crossbite and guide the appropriate treatment options for a successful outcome.


Fortunately, effective treatment options are available to correct crossbites and restore proper dental alignment. Here are some commonly used methods:

  • Orthodontic treatment: Braces and clear aligners are widely used to realign the teeth gradually. These appliances apply gentle pressure to move the teeth into their correct positions over time, resulting in a properly aligned bite.
  • Palatal expanders: For cases where a narrow upper jaw contributes to a crossbite, palatal expanders can be used. These devices are attached to the upper molars and gently widen the palate, creating more space for the teeth to align correctly.
  • Tooth extraction: Tooth extraction may be necessary in situations with severe crowding or insufficient space for proper alignment. Removing specific teeth can create the necessary space to achieve a well-aligned bite.
  • Oral appliances: Bite plates or retainers may be used, particularly for children with habits like thumb-sucking. These custom-made appliances help guide proper jaw and tooth positioning, assisting in correcting crossbites.
  • Surgical intervention: In rare and severe cases where skeletal issues contribute to a crossbite, jaw surgery, known as orthognathic surgery, may be recommended. This surgical procedure repositions the jaws, allowing for proper teeth alignment.

Each treatment option is tailored to the individual's specific needs, the severity of the crossbite, and overall dental health. A consultation with an experienced orthodontist is crucial in determining the most suitable treatment approach for achieving optimal results.


When it comes to treating crossbites, it's essential to seek professional consultation from an orthodontist or dental specialist. They will evaluate your specific case, considering factors like the severity of the crossbite and your individual needs. Here are key points to consider:

  • Importance of professional consultation: A qualified dental professional will conduct a thorough examination, including X-rays and impressions, to assess your crossbite accurately. They will guide you on the most suitable treatment options for your unique situation.
  • Individualized treatment plans: Crossbite treatment plans are personalized to address each patient's specific needs. The severity of the crossbite, age, oral health, and lifestyle factors will all be considered to develop a tailored treatment approach.
  • Factors to consider: When selecting the appropriate treatment option, factors such as the desired treatment duration, aesthetics, comfort, and cost should be taken into account. Your dental professional will discuss the pros and cons of each option, helping you make an informed decision.

By collaborating with a qualified dental expert, you can ensure that the chosen treatment aligns with your goals and leads to a successful outcome in correcting your crossbite. Remember, the right treatment choice can bring about a confident smile and improved oral health.


Congratulations! You've gained valuable insights into crossbite, its causes, and the available treatment options. Now, it's time to take the next step towards achieving a confident smile and optimal dental alignment.

At Idaho Orthodontics, our team of experienced orthodontists is here to guide you on your journey to a harmonious bite. We understand the impact that crossbite can have on your self-esteem and overall oral health. With our personalized approach, we will create an individualized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Don't let crossbite hold you back any longer. Contact Idaho Orthodontics today to request a callback. Let us help you regain your smile and enjoy the benefits of a properly aligned bite. Your journey to a beautiful, functional smile starts here.