Dr. Randy Feldman’s advice is to “fix any crossbites as soon as possible, because the jaw continues to shift and grows asymmetrically. If the jaw continues to grow asymmetrically, which means crooked, then you have to have surgery later on… 16 years of age or older to correct it. So, by correcting a crossbite early on… at 7, 8, 9,10 years of age… you definitely can avoid pulling teeth and you definitely can avoid jaw surgery later on.”
One of the dental misalignments or malocclusions(improper bites) that can be corrected with traditional braces or Invisalign is a “crossbite.” This one type of malocclusion; a misalignment of the teeth and/or jaws is extremely amenable to early correction.
A crossbite can take several forms, and an orthodontist, such as the team at Blue Wave Orthodontics, can correct all.
The “posterior crossbite”, occurs in up-to 16 percent of children, and is a bite where the top back teeth fit inside of the bottom back teeth. This causes trouble with chewing food properly.
Oftentimes, this is caused by thumb sucking , and or airway/allergy issues and mouth breathing habits.
An anterior crossbite, is less common, but means the upper front teeth sit inside the lower bottom teeth. These are usually caused by over-retained primary or “baby” teeth. That makes the lower teeth more prominent in your smile, and is often referred to as an “underbite.”
We mentioned that braces or Invisalign can assist in correcting the problems of a crossbite. Other treatments include palatal or maxillary expanders. These are devices placed on the upper posterior(back) teeth and rest near the palate to widen the upper palate and the dental crossbite with light pressure, thus obviating the crossbite and allowing the lower jaw to seek the best position. These are used most often with children who are still growing.
The good news is that this treatment if done in a timely manner is almost always 100% effective, and as an additional benefit usually rules out the need for adult tooth extractions.
This early treatment is often called Phase I, and can take about one year, sometimes even avoiding a second phase later!
Dr. Feldman and one of his staff wrote the original treatise on 2 Phase treatment and all Blue Wave Ortho and Kids Smiles offices have this 2 Phase brochure and it is readily available for perusal.
In some cases, surgery is necessary. An Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon must break the jawbone in several tactical places, and post-surgery the patient wears a custom-made splint along with braces.
This is only done if the growth spurt is missed, not corrected at an early age or more expansion than the palatal or maxillary expanders can handle is required.
We always advise that parents give your child the best opportunity for a healthy and beautiful smile! The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children meet with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. An early evaluation is free!