Upper or lower palate expansion to make room for crowded teeth
What is a palatal expander?
A palatal expander, also known as a dental expander, is designed to expand the upper or lower palate to create room for crowded teeth; commonly used for children.
The expander creates room for teeth, while not having to remove any. Its purpose is to help the natural growth of a child’s mouth to create a functioning bite where the lower and upper teeth meet together properly.
When is an orthodontic expander required?
Generally if your child suffers from one of the following issues, they may need orthodontic expander treatment:
Crossbite – Occurs when the upper jaw is narrower than the lower jaw, which causes the upper teeth to bite together on the inside.
Crowding – There may not be enough room on the palate for all the child’s adult teeth to grow in. An expander can widen the upper jaw to create enough room for the child’s adult teeth.
Impacted teeth – Occurs when a tooth is trying to grow and being blocked by an existing tooth. Expanding the upper jaw allows for the tooth to have enough room to come through.
How palatal expanders work?
The palatal expander can be used on both the upper and lower jaw for different purposes.
The purpose of an upper jaw expander is to stretch the palate to grow larger.
Expanders have two parts which are generally connected in the middle by a screw that has to be turned to apply pressure. It’s important to follow your orthodontists instructions on when and how much to turn the screw to expand your child’s mouth.
This pressure created slowly causes new bone to grow, which expands the upper or lower palate to the optimal growth.
This process helps to reduce the problems mentioned earlier – crossbites, crowding and impacted teeth.
How long are palatal expanders worn for?
On average, your child can expect to have an expander for around 3 – 6 months.
What is the best age for palatal expanders?
The skeletal maturation should be used to predict whether your child requires a palatal expander or not.
Ideally your child should be still growing, as this makes the expander treatment work.
Side effects of palatal expanders
There are a few possible side-effects:
Pain and discomfort
More difficult to speak
Food debris caught between expander and soft tissue
Gap in the front teeth
Contact HiTech Ortho
Your child should be visiting the orthodontist at around eight years old for their first check-up. During this check-up, you will know whether your child will require orthodontic treatment or not.
For more information on the palatal expander and other treatments, please contact the experienced team at HiTech Ortho by clicking here.
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