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Home > Dental Conditions > Malocclusion > Crossbites Complications and Treatment
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Crossbites: Complications and Treatment

An orthodontic appliance can correct a crossbite.

A crossbite results when the upper jaw is narrower than the lower jaw.

If left untreated crossbites may cause a number of problems:

  • Crossbites produce abnormal forces on teeth causing looseness and gum recession.
  • Crossbites may cause the lower jaw to shift, which can lead to asymmetrical growth of the face. It also causes the enamel of the teeth in crossbite to wear abnormally.
  • Crossbites are corrected by gently expanding the upper jaw.

A custom-made palate widening appliance is fabricated. It is attached to the molars and spans the roof of the mouth. The appliance gently separates the elastic membrane in the center of the palate, which stabilizes as new bone tissue fills into the expanded area. Sometimes a space develops between the front teeth. This space is normal and usually closes during treatment.

Posterior Crossbites Are Best Treated at an Early Age

Although the upper jaw appears to be one bone, it is actually two bones connected by an elastic membrane. This membrane hardens during the teen years. By orthodontically widening the jaw at an early age, treatment is easier, more successful, and the correction more stable.

Treatment Time

Most expansions are completed within 30 to 40 days. Then, the appliance remains in the mouth for approximately six more months. This allows new bone to grow in the expanded area.


For most patients this procedure is painless. Some patients feel pressure as the arch is expanded. Occasionally there may be some mild discomfort at the start of treatment. If there is any discomfort, you may give your child a normal dose of Advil® or Tylenol®. Please follow the recommended dosage and directions on the label.

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