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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Aug 8;(8):CD000979. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000979.pub2.

Orthodontic treatment for posterior crossbites.

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Private practice, Via Sant?Andrea di Rovereto 59A, Chiavari, Genoa, Italy, 16043.



A posterior crossbite occurs when the top back teeth bite inside the bottom back teeth. When it affects one side of the mouth, the lower jaw may have to move to one side to allow the back teeth to meet together. Several treatments have been recommended to correct this problem. Some treatments widen the upper teeth while others are directed at treating the cause of the posterior crossbite (e.g. breathing problems or sucking habits). Most treatments have been used at each stage of dental development. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2001.


To assess the effects of orthodontic treatment for posterior crossbites.


We searched the following electronic databases: the Cochrane Oral Health Group's Trials Register (to 21 January 2014), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2014, Issue 1), MEDLINE via OVID (1946 to 21 January 2014), and EMBASE via OVID (1980 to 21 January 2014). We searched the US National Institutes of Health Trials Register and the World Health Organization (WHO) Clinical Trials Registry Platform for ongoing trials. We placed no restrictions on the language or date of publication when searching the electronic databases.


Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of orthodontic treatment for posterior crossbites in children and adults.


Two review authors, independently and in duplicate, screened the results of the electronic searches, and extracted data and assessed the risk of bias of the included studies. We attempted to contact the first named authors of the included studies for missing data and for clarification. We used risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to summarise dichotomous (event) data, and mean differences (MD) with 95% CIs to summarise continuous data. We performed meta-analyses using fixed-effect models (we would have used random-effects models if we had included four or more studies in a meta-analysis) when comparisons and outcomes were sufficiently similar.


We included 15 studies, of which two were at low risk of bias, seven were at high risk of bias and six were unclear. Fixed appliances with mid-palatal expansionNine studies tested fixed appliances with mid-palatal expansion against each other. No study reported a difference between any type of appliance. Fixed versus removable appliancesFixed quad-helix appliances may be 20% more likely to correct crossbites than removable expansion plates (RR 1.20; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.37; two studies; 96 participants; low-quality evidence).Quad-helix appliances may achieve 1.15 mm more molar expansion than expansion plates (MD 1.15 mm; 95% CI 0.40 to 1.90; two studies; 96 participants; moderate-quality evidence).There was insufficient evidence of a difference in canine expansion or the stability of crossbite correction.Very limited evidence showed that both fixed quad-helix appliances and removable expansion plates were superior to composite onlays in terms of crossbite correction, molar and canine expansion. Other comparisonsVery limited evidence showed that treatments were superior to no treatment, but there was insufficient evidence of a difference between any active treatments.


There is a very small body of low- to moderate-quality evidence to suggest that the quad-helix appliance may be more successful than removable expansion plates at correcting posterior crossbites and expanding the inter-molar width for children in the early mixed dentition (aged eight to 10 years). The remaining evidence we found was of very low quality and was insufficient to allow the conclusion that any one intervention is better than another for any of the outcomes in this review.

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