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What Causes a Crossbite

What Causes a Crossbite?

By Uncategorized

If your child has a crossbite, or you’ve been diagnosed with this type of malocclusion (improper bite) yourself, you might be wondering what causes it. Is it genetic or something you can prevent? In this post, Claremore and Tulsa orthodontist Dr. Anand Patel will weigh in. 

But, First, What is a Crossbite?

A patient is said to have a crossbite if one or more of the top teeth sit inside of the bottom teeth when the jaw is closed. A crossbite can involve a single tooth or groups of teeth, and it can be dental (related to the teeth) or skeletal (related to the jaw).

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, there are two main types of crossbites:

  • Anterior crossbite (front crossbite): One or more of the front upper teeth bite inside of the lower teeth. 
  • Posterior crossbite (back crossbite): One or more of the back upper teeth bite inside of the lower teeth. 

What Causes a Crossbite?

Crossbite causes include:

  • Genetics

Often, a crossbite boils down to the genetic blueprint of your tooth and facial skeletal development. In fact, if one of your parents or grandparents has a crossbite, you’re more likely to suffer from this type of malocclusion.

When a crossbite is genetic, it tends to be the result of a mismatch between the upper and lower jaw (e.g., the upper jaw is underdeveloped in comparison to the lower jaw). However, it can also be from other traits, such as inheriting a small jaw from one parent and large teeth from the other. 

  • Tooth Eruption Problems

The delayed loss of baby teeth or the abnormal eruption of permanent teeth can also cause a crossbite. 

  • Oral Habits

Oral habits, including prolonged thumb sucking and pacifier use and tongue thrust (reverse swallowing pattern), may lead to a crossbite. These habits put pressure on the palate, or roof of the mouth, behind the top front teeth. Over time, the pressure can shift teeth out of place and even distort the upper jaw bone. 

  • Mouth Breathing

Things like enlarged tonsils and craniofacial abnormalities are tied to chronic mouth breathing. Chronic mouth breathing in kids impacts their dental and facial development, potentially creating orthodontic issues, such as a crossbite.

  • Injury

Less commonly, a jaw injury can cause skeletal misalignment, forcing the teeth into a crossbite position. 

  • Dental Work

An improperly designed and placed dental crown, bridge or implant can alter the bite. 

  • Online Aligners

People who undergo at-home clear aligner treatment also run the risk of developing malocclusion, such as a posterior or anterior crossbite. This is because this type of DIY treatment focuses solely on straightening the teeth. However, when you shift the teeth, the bite changes too. 

This highlights the importance of seeing a certified specialist in orthodontics like Dr. Patel for any type of orthodontic care. An orthodontist has the experience to create an effective, customized treatment plan that results in straight teeth and a stable, aligned bite. 

We’ve broken out the causes separately for ease of reading but the truth is, both genetic and environmental factors can be behind a crossbite. For example, inherited traits may predispose you to developing a crossbite while aggressive thumb-sucking then brings it out.

The Impact: Why Fix a Crossbite?

An untreated crossbite can lead to:

  • Permanent changes in facial structure if you compensate by shifting the jaw to one side
  • Difficulty keeping teeth clean, leading to tooth decay and gum disease
  • Jaw and TMJ pain
  • Problems with chewing
  • Enamel wear

How to Fix a Crossbite

Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment

Not all crossbites require early intervention. However, if the crossbite indicates an underlying issue with the jaw or it’s leading to lopsided jaw growth, phase 1 orthodontic treatment could be necessary. 

With this approach, Dr. Patel starts treatment when a patient still has some of their baby teeth, usually between ages 7 and 11. He uses an appliance, such as a palatal expander, to guide jaw growth. This creates enough space for the permanent teeth to erupt properly and ensures the upper and lower arches will come together correctly. 

When the phase 1 goals are achieved, Dr. Patel removes the appliance and the child enters a resting period. Once all of the permanent teeth are in, phase 2 treatment begins. During this phase, the patient wears braces or Invisalign® Teen to straighten the teeth and finetune the bite. 


Braces are effective for crossbite correction. In the case of a single-tooth crossbite, braces could work on their own. In other cases, they’re usually combined with auxiliaries like rubber bands to provide the connective force needed to align the bite while also straightening the teeth. 


Can Invisalign fix a crossbite? Yes, you may still be a candidate for Invisalign if you have a crossbite. Generally, if multiple teeth are involved, Dr. Patel will bond Invisalign attachments to the teeth to help the aligners achieve more complex tooth movements. He may also use rubber bands to correct the bite.

How Long Does it Take to Fix a Crossbite?

Treatment time depends on a number of factors, including whether the crossbite is dental or skeletal, how many te complexity of the case and how well you adhere to the treatment plan. 

Crossbite Correction in Tulsa and Claremore, OK

Now that you know what causes a crossbite, areeeth are involved, th you ready to explore treatment options for yourself or your child? Book a free consultation at The Brace Place. Our Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist Dr. Patel will develop an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan to help you get the beautiful, functional smile you deserve.

Send Your Child Back to School With a Healthy Smile

Send Your Child Back to School With a Healthy Smile

By Uncategorized

Back-to-school is just around the corner. And with the lazy, hazy days of summer drawing to a close, now’s the time that many families start prepping for the busy school year ahead. One item to include on your to-do list? Setting up your child for another year of healthy teeth and gums.


But how do you do that? Here, Dr. Patel and the team at The Brace Place have 5 ways you can set your kids up for healthy teeth this year.


1. Schedule Check Ups and Cleanings With Your Dentist


To start the school season with healthy teeth, schedule your kids’ twice-annual dental check-ups and cleanings to coincide with the school year schedule. The first one can happen before the fall so it doesn’t interfere with school hours or after-school activities. And if your check-ups reveal less-than-healthy teeth because of cavities or gum disease, you can get them fixed before school begins. Or least before your child’s schedule starts in full swing.


At a check-up, your dentist has the chance to see if your kids have healthy smiles and suggest both at-home and professional cavity prevention. Some suggested treatments might include:


  • Fluoride to strengthen teeth
  • Dental sealants to create a barrier against tooth decay
  • A mouthguard for sports to prevent dental trauma


A check-up is also an opportunity for your dentist to provide a refresher on brushing kids’ teeth. A mini-lesson is especially helpful for younger kids who are transitioning from their adult brushing and flossing their teeth to managing it on their own. A dentist can also check in on your child’s oral development and, if needed, suggest orthodontics that will improve your kid’s smile.


2. Kick-Start a Daily Solid Oral Hygiene Routine For Healthy Teeth 


As mentioned, your dentist is a great resource for learning how to brush and floss for healthy teeth at home. Put their professional advice into practice by establishing a good oral care routine with your kids that can continue once school starts. Kids (and adults!) should brush twice a day — in the morning and before bed — and floss daily. 


Now, we know that brushing kids’ teeth well day in and day out sometimes requires a little incentive. Here are a few tips for getting your kids excited about maintaining healthy teeth every day:


  • Let them choose their own toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss – Kids are more interested in maintaining a healthy smile when they get to choose tools they like. Just be sure they opt for a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride.As for flossing, younger kids might like the ease of floss picks, while older kids are typically able to hold floss with their fingers. And did you know dental floss comes in plenty of kid-friendly flavors? There are also kids’ water flossers that make flossing fun and easy.


  • Talk about why healthy teeth and gums matter – It’s not uncommon for kids to ask their parents why teeth brushing is so important. Explain to your kids that a healthy smile equals teeth that look and function at their best. For example, cavities and gum disease can be painful, cause tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, or make eating difficult.



3. Plan A Menu of Teeth-Healthy Lunches and Snacks


It goes without saying that healthy eating contributes to healthy teeth and gums. While you and your kids have time in the summer, come up with teeth-healthy lunch and snack ideas together that you’re all excited about. 


Foods good for teeth include colorful fruits and vegetables like carrots, tomatoes and berries. These have vitamins A and C that help strengthen gums. Crunching on hard veg like cucumbers, celery and broccoli helps manually scrub teeth of sticky sugars.


Cheese and yogurt have bone-strengthening calcium and vitamin D. And studies have shown that cheese is great for cavity prevention… and sometimes helps keeps teeth white! How? Cheddar, mozzarella, or gouda help clear out mouth sugars and bacteria that can cause stains and tooth decay. 


Want more food ideas that support healthy teeth and gums? This earlier post has healthy snack ideas for kids with braces but applies to kids without them, too!



4. Include a Water Bottle For All-Day Hydration


If your child’s school doesn’t already suggest it, send your child to school with a full water bottle so they have access to hydration all day — they can usually refill it at school. Supply water instead of sugary juice boxes, which can contribute to plaque and tooth decay. Being well hydrated also helps keep your child’s mouth moist. Saliva helps wash away food debris and is an important part of keeping a pH environment that discourages bacteria.



5. See a Kids Orthodontist 


Whether your dentist recommends an orthodontic visit for your kids or not, it’s a good idea to take your child to their first orthodontic visit early. Orthodontics for kids can go a long way in helping maintain healthy teeth and gums for life: straight teeth and a normal bite help with the cavity and tooth decay prevention they deserve. 


But at what age should kids see an orthodontist? Well, the American Association of Orthodontists suggests that kids see an orthodontist by age seven. By this time, a few adult teeth have already grown in and their jaw shape is pretty much established. A highly trained orthodontic specialist like Dr. Patel can spot potential issues like misaligned teeth or a bad bite that might benefit from early orthodontic treatment or monitoring.


A Healthy Smile with The Brace Place


A Healthy Smile with The Brace Place

Excited to start the school year with a teeth-happy plan? Include a visit to your Claremore and Tulsa, OK orthodontist to give your kids a head start on their oral health this year.

Contact us today for a free initial consultation before the school year starts!

how to get your braces off faster

How to Get Your Braces Off Faster

By Uncategorized, Orthodontics

The payoff for wearing braces is a beautiful straight smile for the rest of your life. But we at the Brace Place understand that sometimes the waiting can feel like ages and wonder how to get your braces off faster. Some of our patients to know how to get their braces off faster so they are ready for high school graduation — prom, photos, cap, and gown… all those moments would be that much more perfect with a new smile. Other patients just feel impatient with the process and want fast braces while still achieving the straight teeth they’ve always wanted.

So how long do braces last?

In any case, what is life with braces like? One of the first things many of our Tulsa and Claremore patients ask us is, “How long do braces take?”

For braces to work properly and shift teeth gradually (and comfortably) into alignment, they typically take about 18 months. So whether it’s a milestone event you’re aiming for or you just want to be braces-free as soon as possible, here are some tips from Dr. Anand Patel for how to get braces off sooner than later.

Follow Food Guidelines

Diet Do’s and Don’ts With Braces

It goes without saying that wearing braces requires a slight change in what you can and can’t eat. Regardless of whether you have modern metal braces or clear ceramic braces, you want to avoid foods that can damage or even break your braces. Braces that are less than 100% functional can delay your treatment. During the time your braces are out of commission, the pause in treatment might set back your teeth movements and extend your treatment time. 

For these reasons, braces-wearers who want to expedite their treatment and have faster braces should stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy foods that can damage braces such as:

  • Bagels and pizza crust
  • Chips
  • Hard taco shells
  • Nuts
  • Chewing gum
  • Licorice
  • Jerky
  • Hard candies
  • Popcorn
  • Caramel
  • Anything you have to bite into, like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob

This might seem like a long list, but there’s plenty of foods considered safe for braces, and sticking with braces-friendly foods will ensure you’re taking good care of your oral health and your braces at the same time. You can eat soft foods like yogurt, pasta and rice, eggs, tofu, soup, and soft fruits to name a few.

Food Preparation With Braces

You can also cut up your food into smaller pieces if you’re really missing those raw vegetables and fruits, those hearty, crusty bread, or chewy meat dishes. Try softening vegetables by steaming or roasting them or blending fruit into sippable smoothies.

oral hygiene for braces

Keep your mouth healthy

Good oral hygiene is your best bet against tooth decay and gum disease. A healthy mouth can help keep your orthodontic treatment on track, or in some cases, result in faster braces. Clean, healthy gums are more likely to allow teeth to move faster. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day — in the morning and before bed — and after every meal. Don’t forget to floss first before brushing!

Now, we should mention that proper brushing and flossing with braces does take a bit longer, but you’ll most likely agree that a few extra minutes in diligent oral care every day is worth the extra time and effort. When your braces come off, you won’t just have a straight smile but a fresh and healthy one, too!

When you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, say, if you’re eating out and don’t have your toothbrush handy, we suggest at least a few thorough swishes of water to help remove food debris and sugar. Rinsing your mouth with water will also help your mouth go back to a pH level that’s less hospitable to the bad bacteria that can turn into plaque.

Wear your elastics

The elastics that Dr. Patel will give you are a must to get braces off faster. Be sure to follow the instructions you’re given for wearing them — these elastics play a big role in aligning your teeth. Only take them out when eating and make it a habit to check you’ve got them in before you turn in for the night. 

So elastics are in… but what’s out? If you’re prone to chewing on the end of pens or pencils, or you’re a nailbiter, now would be the time to quit. Chewing on these could damage your braces. As we mentioned earlier, that’s not something you want when your goal is to get braces off faster.

Go to all your appointments!

Now, you might think your braces treatment is coming along nicely and you can skip a check-up or two to the Brace Place. However, only an orthodontist can properly assess your progress. If Dr. Patel hasn’t seen your teeth at the prescribed times, this might extend your orthodontic treatment. You could be wearing those metal braces or clear braces for a little while longer instead of the faster braces you were hoping for.

We can’t forget to mention that seeing your dentist twice a year is also important. As mentioned previously, your oral health does affect your braces treatment, and who doesn’t want both a healthy and beautiful smile?

Be gentle on your teeth

Your teeth and gums are working really hard during the straightening process. In essence, your braces are stretching ligaments on one side of the teeth roots which results in compressed ligaments on the other side. This stretched ligaments/compressed ligaments scenario signals osteoblasts to create bone tissue in the space created on the stretched side, while osteoclasts go about breaking down tissue on the compressed side. So it’s recommended you take it easy on your mouth and teeth. 

Try to break any habits that put extra stress or pressure on your teeth like teeth grinding or clenching your jaw. Use over-the-counter pain relief if you’re feeling discomfort — especially after an adjustment. And if you play sports, be sure to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces from accidents that could prevent you from your goal to get braces off faster.

It’s safe to say that there’s no shortcut with braces. But following these tips for how to get braces off faster can help towards revealing your brand new smile quicker. If you have more questions about getting braces off faster or are still asking yourself, “How long do braces last?” Dr. Patel and the team at The Brace Place are happy to help. Contact us at our Tulsa or Claremore offices, or book a virtual appointment.


What is an Orthodontic Expander & When is it Necessary?

By Uncategorized

When your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist recommends an orthodontic expander for your elementary school-aged child, you might have a few questions before moving forward with it. “What exactly is an orthodontic expander?” You might ask. “What does it do?” and “When do they need it?”

Before we get into the answers, let’s take a step back. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) suggests seven years-old is a great time to take your child for an initial orthodontic visit. By age seven, children typically have some of their adult teeth and their bite is beginning to take shape. At this point, a certified orthodontist like Dr. Patel can see any potential orthodontic issues and assess if your child will benefit from early orthodontic treatment like an expander.

So What is an Orthodontic Expander?

An orthodontic expander is an appliance that gradually widens your child’s jaw and palate, allowing room for their adult teeth to grow in normally or to correct jaw misalignment. Every orthodontic expander is custom-made to fit a child’s natural palate. 

At The Brace Place, we typically suggest a palatal expander in early orthodontic treatment when your child’s upper jaw needs widening. Depending on your child’s orthodontic issues, your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist, Dr. Patel, will suggest either a removable or fixed expander that is made up of two halves connected by a tiny screw in the middle.

How Does a Palatal Expander Work?

A palatal expander applies gradual pressure to widen the space in your child’s mouth over a 3-12 month period. It’s attached to the upper jaw against the palate and held in place with wires around the molars. Here, we’ll explain how it works:

Orthodontic Palatal Expander

Often, parents’ first question is how to tighten an expander. You simply use a special key to turn the small screw in the center of the palatal expander every day. Activating the screw pushes the palatal expander outward incrementally, less than one millimeter a day. Did you know that the right and left sides of a child’s upper jaw develop as two halves? These two bones — called maxillary bones — don’t fuse together until around or after puberty. So a palatal expander is essentially widening the two sides independently.

Once your orthodontist sees that your child’s jaw has widened the correct amount, the ortho expander will stay in for a few months more so that new bone can develop in the gap and stabilize the expansion.

When Is An Orthodontic Expander Needed?

Dr. Patel might suggest a palatal expander if your child has severe crowding, a crossbite or impacted teeth that look as if they’ll worsen as your child develops.

Crowding: If your child’s teeth are crowding even before all their adult teeth have erupted, widening their jaw with an expander might lessen the need for tooth extractions or braces later on. Crowding also affects how well your child can brush and floss their teeth.

Crossbite: A crossbite is when upper teeth misalign, sitting inside lower teeth because the upper jaw is too narrow. A palatal expander widens your child’s jaw, stacking the top and bottom teeth correctly.

Impacted Teeth: Sometimes an adult tooth hasn’t come in yet because its spot is blocked by other teeth. Widening the upper jaw can open up space for the impacted tooth to erupt on its own into its designated spot. 

Orthodontic Expander Pros and Cons:

We know that early orthodontic treatment like an ortho expander can be a big decision. We can also agree that we’re more used to seeing teens going through orthodontic care than younger children. But rest assured, at The Brace Place we follow the AAO’s suggestion of delaying treatment when issues are mild and only suggest early orthodontic treatment when absolutely necessary. Here are some pros and cons of orthodontic expander treatment to think about:


  • Shortens the time your child will need braces later on
  • Lessens the need for tooth removals
  • Creates room for emerging adult teeth
  • Straighter teeth and aligned jaws means more effective brushing and flossing
  • A more aesthetically pleasing smile and improves confidence
  • Improves your child’s breathing
  • Improves chewing and eating


  • It takes some time for your child to get used to eating with the expander
  • It can initially affect how your child speaks 
  • Children aren’t always keen on the extra cleaning needed for their expander
  • An expander can cause some tenderness when adjusted, though this goes away quickly

Ways You Can Help Your Child Get Used To Their Expander

Understandably, an orthodontic expander can feel like an overwhelming experience for a child. We at The Brace Place want to share a few suggestions for how you can make the transition more comfortable:

Offer some expander-friendly foods: Make the first few days of expander-wearing more fun and easy when it comes to foods. Soft foods like yogurt, smoothies, soup, or mashed potatoes will help, versus foods that need a lot of chewing.

Be ready to soothe discomfort: Because they’re not used to their expander, your child might feel pressure or discomfort on their teeth or palate at the beginning. Sometimes children also feel pressure in their nose or mouth when the orthodontic expander is placed or activated. Over-the-counter pain relief helps. Cold treats can make your child feel more comfortable and lift their mood.

Help your child with their oral hygiene: Has your child been brushing and flossing on their own these past few years? Now is a good time to get involved again. Show your child how to clean their teeth and expander and help them get used to the extra care and time it takes.

Keep us in-the-loop: Though problems with orthodontic expanders are rare, please contact us at our Tulsa or Claremore office if you have any concerns or questions about your child’s expander. If you see a gap growing in your child’s top front teeth, don’t be alarmed, this is normal and is a sign that your child’s palate is expanding. This can then be corrected with braces in the teen years.

Your Child’s Smile is Our Priority

At The Brace Place, we believe every child deserves a chance at a healthy, confident smile. If an orthodontic expander is recommended for your child, Dr. Patel has 20 years of orthodontic experience helping children successfully navigate early orthodontic treatment. Contact us today to book your free, initial early orthodontic consultation at our Tulsa or Claremore offices.