What You Need To Know About Crossbites

Typically, when a parent brings a young child to the dentist, the last discussion they’re expecting to have is one centered on braces and orthodontic appliances. Yet, even at ages three and four, a talk about braces, sagittal expanders, and retainers can indeed be front and center when a child is diagnosed with a crossbite. The question then is what to do about it, how soon should intervention take place, and what the complications are that can arise if nothing is done at all. Let’s get some answers.

What Exactly Is a Crossbite?

Imagine for a moment you’re sitting in front of a nice soup bowl with a wide flat brim, and inside that bowl is hearty chowder you’d like to keep warm until you’re ready to devour it. So, you grab another bowl designed exactly like the first, and hover it upside-down over the bowl containing the soup. As you slowly lower it, you try to line up the brims so when they rest together they form a nice even seal. Unfortunately, given the soup is hot, you don’t quite get the brims to line up perfectly, and the edge of the top bowl ends up resting just slightly to the left of the lip on the bottom bowl. The way these two bowls now rest unevenly atop one another is exactly what you would see in a person with a crossbite. A crossbite can affect several teeth, or a single tooth, and can occur on either one side of the mouth or both. Simply put, if any one tooth (or several teeth) lies nearer the tongue or cheek instead of coming together evenly, you’re likely dealing with a crossbite. 

So, What To Do About It And When?

The dental community is split on when to initiate treatment for a crossbite, with some suggesting treatment should begin as soon as it is noticed (sometimes as early as age three), while others suggest parents should wait until a child’s sixth year molars have arrived. Despite the difference of opinion as to when treatment should begin, dentists and orthodontist are in agreement that the condition cannot be left untreated. Doing so presents a host of complications for the child later in life including gum and tooth wear, uneven jaw development that can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and facial asymmetry – something no parent or child wants.

What Does Crossbite Treatment Look Like?

Crossbite treatment generally involves adjusting the spread of a child’s teeth with dental appliances so the bite pattern matches evenly on all sides. Depending on the type of crossbite a child has, this can be done with dental expanders that resemble orthodontic retainers, and include a screw that is tightened nightly to “spread” a child’s bite to the prescribed width. Additionally, dental facemasks, braces and clear aligners may be used – particularly when a single tooth is out of alignment.

Crossbites are generally regarded as genetic in nature, and they’re not overly common. It is, however, a condition that needs to be treated before permanent damage to a child’s facial and oral development occurs. So, if you find yourself at the other end of a discussion about having your little one wear a dental expander, be sure you listen and get however many opinions regarding that advice as you require. Your child, and your wallet, will thank you long into the future.

 

Crowns vs. Veneers

Many of us want a whiter and brighter smile.  This can be accomplished by several different restorative methods.  Some of these procedures include: simple bleaching, orthodontics if needed or by restoring the teeth with veneers or crowns.  Each treatment is used for specific reasons.  If you are satisfied with the overall shape and appearance of your teeth.  Simple custom tray bleaching can provide extremely satisfying results.  However when teeth are out of alignment and you do not want to go through the process of orthodontics to straighten them, then crowns or veneers can offer another option.  While it is ideal to align teeth with braces/clear retainers first, this is not always an option for some people.

Crowns and veneers provide excellent treatments to change shade, shape and position (to a limited extent) of the natural teeth.  The question for most people is when you do one versus the other.  The main thing that your dentist will look at is what is already existing in the natural teeth.

If the teeth have numerous cracks present, cavities or large fillings/fillings in between the teeth, a crown is a more suitable treatment.  This is because the cracks or the fillings have weakened the overall tooth structure and a crown will provide a full coverage restorative option protecting the entire exposed tooth.  

Veneers are excellent for teeth that are discolored, have spaces or mild crowding and may have chips or defects but are structurally intact with no cavities present.  A veneer is a more conservative restoration that can straighten a smile but only covers the front of the tooth and therefore if a tooth needs to be rotated or aligned more than slightly, the overall tooth can end up feeling bulky. 

This is just a brief overview of these two procedures.  Visit Magnolia Dental to find out more if you are interested.  We offer complimentary cosmetic consults!

IS AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH BETTER THAN A MANUAL ONE?

With all the advances in home hygiene care, I get a lot of questions on whether an electric toothbrush is better than a manual toothbrush.  The answer comes from how you brush.  If you brush for at least 2 minutes, 2-3 times a day with either you will have great results. However, many people do not brush for even 30 seconds with a manual brush.  

Here are the main advantages of an electric toothbrush:

  1. Most electric toothbrushes are equipped with 2 minute timers that encourage the user to brush for the appropriate amount of time and even pulse every 30 secs to allow you to brush each quadrant of your mouth equally.  
  2. The brush head of an electric toothbrush is either oscillating or vibrating to aid in more efficient plaque removal.  This is important because this movement is a great help, especially to those that have limited dexterity.  
  3. Some electric toothbrushes come with a sanitizing device allowing you to clean your brush head in between cleanings.
  4. New electric toothbrushes can change their movement to let you know if you are brushing to aggressively.

Again, both brushes are able to complete great home care as long as you put in the time!

CONFIDENCE GAINED FROM A GREAT SMILE

First impressions are so crucial in our day-to-day lives.  From daily interactions with others, to choosing what store we buy needed items from, to deciphering which specific brand of a product we use, to being able to be hired for your dream job, first impressions can have an extremely strong impact on determining what path our lives take. 

"You never get a second chance at a first impression!"- Oscar Wild

A beautiful smile is a way to gain that sought after confidence.  Not only do we feel better individually, but this confidence emanates through our posture and other body language.  We invest in so many different material things, yet few people prioritize their oral health.  It is so important to invest in yourself.  The best accessory to any outfit is a beautiful smile.

Click on the picture below to read about the beauty benefits of smiling!

The Beauty Benefits of Smiling by Angelica Catalano

The Beauty Benefits of Smiling by Angelica Catalano