What happens if you don’t treat a crossbite?
You may not worry about your crossbite for a lot of reasons.
The crossbite might only affect your back teeth, while your front teeth appear straight and healthy. The crossbite might not be very apparent in the front, so you are happy with your smile being slightly askew. Or, you may not be concerned about the outward appearance of your teeth, as long as you get regular dental checkups and cleanings.
It is true that your crossbite might not affect your oral health now. But if it is left untreated, it is possible for it to get worse. This might not change the surface appearance of your teeth, but it can cause underlying health problems that can lead to strain, pain, and tooth damage.
Potential problems of untreated crossbites include:
- The jaw shifting to one side, causing muscle strain, chewing problems, and an uneven facial appearance.
- Lopsided growth of the jaw in children, leading to uneven pressure on the teeth, which can cause tooth decay and loss later in life.
- Wearing down of tooth enamel on one side, causing cracking or a higher risk of cavities.
- Tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis.
- Tooth loss from damage or decay.
- TMJ, or teeth grinding leading to muscle pain and headaches.
- Pain and muscle tension in other areas, including the shoulders and neck.
- Sleep apnea or snoring that disrupts sleep, which can increase the risk of other health issues, including heart disease or diabetes.
- Trouble speaking clearly.
- Difficulty biting into food or chewing well, which increases the risk of digestive issues, diabetes, and heart problems.
Even small changes in the alignment of your teeth can increase your risk of oral health problems. In children, crossbites are easier to fix because the jaw is still growing. Adult crossbites can develop and get worse over time, but they can still be addressed by orthodontics.
Adult crossbites might not change your smile at first, but you may notice jaw pain or tension. You might also develop problems with your teeth, such as cracking, which increases the risk of gingivitis or other oral health infections.
If you develop a gum infection, this can damage other teeth, not just those with too much pressure from lopsided muscles. Once this damage begins, you might have bad breath, the appearance of stained teeth, and even teeth that move out of alignment.
Treat crossbites early.
Small crossbites may not cause immediate problems, but it is best to talk to your dentist if you are concerned. In general, it is better to get treatment for crossbites than to ignore them.
It is important to treat crossbites early, so you can avoid serious oral health problems later. Ongoing damage to your oral health can make the crossbite worse, along with other issues.
Getting clear aligner treatment early can improve your smile overall — not just the appearance of your front teeth but also the health of your back teeth. You will not only look great but also feel great, knowing your appearance translates to better physical health overall.