Crossbite can be a discouraging condition, one that might make you shy away during photo ops. But don’t let it get you down, because there are plenty of ways to correct it, transforming your smile and boosting your confidence. And at-home aligners are quickly becoming one of its most popular treatments.
Companies like Byte, Candid, AlignerCo, and SmileDirectClub allow users to straighten their teeth from home for a fraction of the cost of traditional treatment. That said, they’re not the right fit for every case of crossbite. This guide is your roadmap to the types of crossbite that home aligners can treat, the best home alignment services out there, and some alternatives if you don’t see one that will work for you.
Table of Contents
What Is Crossbite?
Crossbite is a common type of bite misalignment in which some (but not all) of the upper teeth sit inside the corresponding lower ones. It might be one tooth, or several, and it can occur anywhere along the dental arches. Either way, it’s usually note a serious medical issue, but it can cause discomfort, complicate your oral hygiene routine, and make you less confident in your smile.
There are two types of crossbite. An anterior crossbite is when some upper back teeth sit inside the lower back teeth, while a posterior crossbite involves some upper front teeth that sit behind their lower counterparts.
Either type can affect the appearance of your smile and, if severe enough, your facial features. But it’s not just a cosmetic concern. Other symptoms include:
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty eating
- Trouble closing the mouth properly
- Speech impediments
- Mouth breathing
Not only that, but if you let a crossbite go untreated, it will wear down your enamel unevenly, and can eventually lead to tooth decay, gum disease, temporomandibular disorder (TMD), and even tooth loss.
Crossbite vs. Underbite
Many people confuse these two conditions, since they both involve upper teeth that sit behind lower ones. However, look closely enough and you’ll spot the difference. In a crossbite, only some of the upper front teeth sit behind the lower arch. But in an underbite, all the upper front teeth sit behind the lower ones.
At-home aligners can treat underbite as well, but only minor cases that stem from dental misalignments, not skeletal ones.
What Causes Crossbite?
Crossbite can stem from either genetic or circumstantial causes. Children often develop crossbites because of a misshapen jaw, teeth erupting at irregular angles, or birth defects like a cleft lip or palate. If a child sucks their thumb or uses a pacifier past age three, they’re also at risk of developing a crossbite. Tongue thrusting (pushing it against the backs of your teeth), excessive nail biting, or chewing on objects like pens may also contribute.
But while crossbites often appear at a young age, they can also persist into adulthood. You can even develop one as an adult. If you experience a jaw injury, it might not heal in the same position, throwing off your alignment.
How Do Home Teeth Aligners Work?
Home teeth aligners are exactly what they sound like: aligners designed to treat dental concerns from home, without the added cost or hassle of making regular trips to the dentist. But what does the process of home teeth alignment actually entail?
To get the ball rolling, you’ll usually take impressions of your teeth using a kit from your provider (though some offer in-person scans as well). Then, you’ll mail the impressions back to them for their team of dentists to review. If the dentist in charge of your case determines that home aligners aren’t the right fit for you, the company will often refund you for the cost of the kit — usually around $49–$99.
After this step, your provider will use your impressions to design a series of custom aligners, and you should receive them in about one month. From there, it’s up to you to wear your aligners for 22+ hours each day — or ten hours if you choose a nighttime-only plan — keep up with your oral hygiene routine, and progress through the series of aligners as directed.
Can Home Aligners Fix Crossbite?
Yes — in some cases.
Crossbite comes in various forms, but every case falls into one of two general categories: dental or skeletal. Dental crossbite is caused by a misalignment of the teeth, while skeletal conditions stem from a misalignment of the upper and/or lower jaw. Skeletal crossbite is a more complex condition that requires a more comprehensive treatment (like braces) to correct.
Unlike home alignment programs, braces treatment involves regular in-office dental visits. This means your provider can achieve more intricate teeth and jaw movements by supplementing your braces with attachments, like elastics and palatal expanders, or procedures like tooth shaving or extraction. Since home aligners rarely involve hands-on in-office dental treatment, they’re not capable of treating severe bite issues.
That said, they might work for some mild or moderate cases of dental crossbite. If your crossbite comes from a misalignment of the teeth alone, home aligners could be a perfectly viable treatment option — especially if it only affects a few teeth. If you think your case may fall into this category, contact one of the providers below to confirm whether you’d be a candidate for treatment.
The Best Home Aligners for Crossbite
Just like any other purchasing decision, when selecting at-home aligners, each option has its own set of pros and cons. Although the industry itself is relatively new, each of these brands has a proven track record of impressive results. However, they differ in cost, timeline, and other specifications, so you might find one more conducive to your unique needs.
Below, we’ve compiled a shortlist of the best, most reliable home alignment services for crossbite:
Byte is one of the most innovative aligner treatments on the market. They provide a high-frequency vibration device called HyperByte — which is intended to reduce discomfort — and claim their average treatment plan length is just 4–5 months. Plus, they put a lifetime guarantee on your smile, and for those who’d prefer not to wear aligners all day, they offer “At-Night” aligners designed with thick, grind-resistant plastic.
- Byte claims their average treatment plan length is just 4–5 months.
- Byte includes their high-frequency vibration device, the HyperByte, in the cost of your aligner bundle. There’s evidence that devices like this may provide a more comfortable aligner fit and faster dental shifts for some people.
- The Byte-For-Life guarantee provides new aligners if your teeth ever shift, as long as you continue purchasing and wearing their retainers as directed.
- Their financing plans don’t require a credit check, so everyone qualifies.
- Byte-At-Night only requires ten hours of continuous wear per day instead of the usual 22.
- Byte includes one set of aftercare retainers for free.
- Byte doesn’t currently have any retail locations, so you’ll need to order an impression kit to get started.
- Byte’s $1,999 price tag is just average for the industry.
While Byte isn’t able to correct all bite issues, it can work wonderfully for some, including mild cases of crossbite. But because crossbite can look so different from person to person, you’ll need to submit impressions of your teeth to Byte’s team of dentists, who will decide whether their system can deliver the smile transformation you’re after.
Want to see what real Byte customers have to say? Check out these authentic reviews from customers who used Byte to correct crossbite.
Candid is a trailblazer in the world of clear aligners, blending elements of traditional and remote care. Their hybrid at-home and in-office treatment model starts with a dentist visit, where you get an examination and digital scan. After that, you’ll complete regular check-ins using the CandidApp and CandidMonitoring kit — no additional office visits required.
- Candid has a network of 300+ dentists, and they’re adding more all the time.
- The local dentist who examined you in-person will collaborate with Candid throughout the entire treatment process. Fully remote teeth alignment services like Byte and SmileDirectClub don’t offer this benefit.
- Since your dentist performs a 3D scan, you get to skip the impression kit.
- CandidMonitoring lets your dentist and Candid’s team evaluate your progress every step of the way, helping your treatment stay on track.
- Candid’s aligners are made from Zendura FLX plastic, so they’re flexible, durable, and powerful.
- Candid treatment averages around $3,500, which is more than fully remote services, closer to what you’d pay for Invisalign or ClearCorrect.
- Financing varies between doctors, but isn’t always available.
- Candid’s average treatment time of 6–9 months is middle of the road when compared to other at-home options.
For bite conditions, your doctor will let you know whether Candid can achieve the results you want, or if you should consider a more robust treatment option. Candid is only designed to treat mild-to-moderate crossbite cases. Just like Byte, a dentist will have to review the condition of your teeth to determine your eligibility. However, unlike Byte, Candid has you work directly with a dentist of your choice, ensuring accurate assessments and unparalleled oversight.
SmileDirectClub is easily the best-known brand of home teeth aligners on the market today. They’ve been straightening teeth since 2014 and served over 1.5 million customers to date. With over 100 SmileShops and a nighttime-only treatment option, they’re a highly convenient service. Plus, they have a lifetime smile warranty and extensive refund policies.
- SmileDirectClub has over 100 SmileShops and 1,000+ partnering dentists located across the U.S. where you can get a free teeth scan and skip the impression kit.
- Through SmilePay, every customer can receive financing, no credit check required.
- SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners allow you to complete your treatment by wearing aligners for just ten hours per day.
- Their Lifetime Smile Guarantee will provide new aligners if your teeth shift out of place in the future, as long as you purchase two sets of retainers every year and wear them as directed.
- SmileDirectClub issues full refunds within the first 30 days of treatment and partial refunds after that.
- SmileDirectClub has a mixed track record of customer service quality.
- They used to have a manufacturing partnership with Align Technology (makers of Invisalign) but now they produce their aligners in-house.
Just like the other two, SmileDirectClub can effectively treat some, but not all, cases of crossbite. You’ll need to complete a 3D scan or at-home impression so one of their dentists can determine if SmileDirectClub is a good option for you, or if you should consult your dentist for other treatment routes.
Want to see what real SmileDirectClub customers have to say? Check out these authentic reviews from customers who used SmileDirectClub to correct crossbite.
What Are My Other Options?
If you aren’t a candidate for home aligners, or you simply want to look at all your options, you might consider an in-office option instead. These treatments are widely considered effective at correcting crossbite, and each involves in-office dental visits, so you’ll get expert consultation every step of the way.
Throughout decades of orthodontic care, braces have steadily been a reliable solution for bite issues. They’re sturdy and allow for nuanced manipulation of both teeth and jaw. Plus, braces can combine with other appliances like elastics and palatal expanders to produce even more impressive smile transformations.
Today, braces don’t just come in the traditional silver metal brackets — there are a few more discreet options too, like clear braces, or lingual braces that are installed behind your teeth. On average, traditional braces cost around $5,000, and specialized, low-profile styles cost even more.
Invisalign, the original clear aligner system, is another popular treatment method for crossbite. Its price and results are pretty comparable to braces, but without all the brackets and wires. It comes with a higher price tag than home teeth aligners, so you may wonder how Invisalign differs from the systems we’ve already discussed.
Unlike home aligners, which are designed by a dentist but administered by the user, dentists administer Invisialign in person. This allows your dentist to include additional appliances like elastics, palatal expanders, and Invisalign’s proprietary “Smartforce” attachments in your treatment plan to achieve more complex adjustments.
If you’re set on in-office clear aligner treatment, but aren’t sold on Invisalign, look into one of their biggest competitors: ClearCorrect. Their process is almost identical to Invisalign — your dentist or orthodontist will evaluate your condition, then administer them and evaluate your progress during regular office visits.
These aligners can also incorporate attachments to treat severe cases and bite misalignments. ClearCorrect isn’t as experienced or prolific as Invisalign, but they charge dentists less for lab fees and have multiple plans — including one where you pay per aligner — so your treatment might be more affordable.
Another one of Invisalign’s oldest competitors, SureSmile launched its clear aligners in 2007. It can treat the same scope of misalignments as Invisalign, and the company says that their patients are less likely to need refinements after treatment. Despite this, they boast lower prices and, since they don’t have a specific mandatory scanner, providers can save money and pass those savings on to you.
3M Clarity Aligners
3M — the company behind Scotch Tape and Post-Its — creates clear aligners with incredible teeth-moving power thanks to their unique attachment placement. Clarity Aligners are only available to orthodontists, who can use two different proprietary materials to deliver a treatment highly customized to your condition. Since 3M also makes Clarity Clear Braces, orthodontists can also design a combination treatment that uses them simultaneously with aligners.
Interested in learning more about treating crossbite with braces or Invisalign? Check out our related guides!
Thanks to rapid advances in clear aligner technology, home aligner systems are a reasonable, affordable solution for some cases of crossbite. If one or more of the companies in this guide piqued your interest, their team of experts can evaluate your candidacy.
Choosing a crossbite treatment (or no treatment at all) is an important personal decision, so there’s no need to rush. Research, speak with your dentist, and thoroughly analyze your options. That way, you’ll have the information necessary to determine the route most closely aligned with your goals, timelines, lifestyle, and finances.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best treatment for crossbite?
It depends entirely on the severity of your case. Orthodontic treatments like braces or clear aligners can work for most cases, but the most severe ones can require surgery instead. Your orthodontist will let you know which route they recommend after examining your teeth and jaw.
What causes crossbite?
Genetics often play a role, like if you were born with irregularly sized jaws or teeth that come in crooked. However, childhood habits like excessive thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or pacifier use past age three can also contribute.
What’s the difference between a crossbite and an underbite?
In a crossbite, only some of your upper front teeth sit behind your lower ones. But in an underbite, all of your upper front teeth sit behind or directly on top of the lower ones.
How long does it take to fix a crossbite?
It depends on the severity of your case and the treatment you choose. If you have a severe skeletal crossbite and you get braces, Invisalign, or another in-office clear aligner treatment, it can take 12–30 months. But if you’ve got a mild case that’s caused solely by a dental misalignment, and use at-home aligners, you might finish treatment in around six months.
How do I get started with at-home aligner treatment?
You will need to order an impression kit from your chosen home aligner company. The kit includes putty and trays, which you’ll use to make molds of your top and bottom dental arches before mailing them to the company. This process can sometimes be difficult, so SmileDirectClub offers physical locations where you can get free teeth scans, and Candid has every customer begin treatment by attending an appointment with one of their network dentists.
Do clear aligners hurt?
Customers often report experiencing tightness or discomfort during the first 1–2 days wearing a new set of aligners, after which the discomfort subsides. Some companies provide “chewies” or other devices to help ensure a more comfortable aligner fit.
How do home aligner companies prepare my treatment plan?
After you submit your impression kit or teeth scans, a dental professional will analyze them and use specialized software to create digital models of your teeth and aligners for every stage in the process. The company will send you digital images of the treatment plan for your approval before beginning production.