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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Kids

Necessity of treating cross bites & open bite



My daughter is 8 years old and has cross bites. What will happen to her if I don`t treat them orthodontically?

She also has an open bite in the front. What will happen if we don`t treat this?


All orthodontic treatment is elective. In fact, you can live without teeth. On the other hand, untreated crossbites almost never get better on their own without treatment. So if you don't fix the crossbite now, your daughter will have a crossbite for the rest of her life. The openbite may get a little better, especially if the front teeth have not fully erupted into the mouth.

Now, what is important to remember is that crossbites are usually the result of deficient growth of the upper jaw and that, in children, this problem can be corrected with orthopedic expansion of the upper jaw. The upper jaw is not joined together in the middle until about age 12, so up until then you can push on the teeth and separate the two bones. This is the single most effective and successful orthopedic procedure in orthodontics. Success rates are over 90%. As your daughter gets older the success rate drops. In adults, crossbite correction often requires surgery on the upper jaw bone to separate it into two parts so it can be widened.

If you can afford to fix the crossbite I would definitely recommend it. People with crossbites often bite their cheeks and wear their teeth unevenly.

Hope this helps.

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Response by:

Mark G Hans, DDS, MSD Mark G Hans, DDS, MSD
Professor of Orthodontics
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University