How Does It Work?
Palatal expanders are custom-made for each individual and fit over several of the top teeth in the back of the mouth. The expander consists of two halves which are connected with a screw in the middle. The screw is used to activate the device by turning it a little each day with a special key. This will generate a small amount of force on the palatal bones, which will cause them to separate gradually. One or two screw adjustments are made every day until the desired expansion is obtained. Once that occurs, the appliance remains in the mouth for approximately three additional months to let new bone form and stabilize the jaw expansion.
The patient may experience a feeling of pressure or a bit of soreness when the key is turned, which should only last for a few moments. It will take some time to adjust to the appliance, which sometimes makes eating and speaking somewhat more difficult.
When Might This Treatment Be Needed?
Some instances that might prompt the use of orthodontic expansion include:
1. Crossbite – The top back teeth bite inside of lower teeth rather than outside
2. Crowding – Insufficient space for permanent teeth to fit inside the mouth
- Can often be detected before permanent teeth erupt
3. Impacted Teeth – Teeth do not come in when expected or can’t come in because it is blocked by other teeth or may be erupting in the wrong direction
- Impacted wisdom teeth occurs quite frequently in teens
Can Adults Use Orthodontic Expanders?
Orthodontic Expanders are seldom needed for adults, but if they are required, it is important to note that the device may be somewhat more uncomfortable. The reason for this is that adults have harder bone tissue and cartilage than children.
There are additional benefits to using a palatal expander: it can broaden the jaw for a more aesthetically pleasing appearance, it can limit the number of tooth extractions required and reduce the overall time your child will have to wear braces.
We know that each patient is unique and treat you accordingly. If orthodontic expansion would be of benefit to you, we will discuss it with you fully prior to commencing with treatment. We know our patients deserve nothing but the best and take pride in ensuring that your specific needs are met.