Palatal Expander Appliance and How It Helps

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The best time to look to get treatment is when you are a child. There are many reasons for this but the most important is that the jaw has not fully formed and reached its final size so will be easier to manipulate. When a palatal expander appliance is used, it will be able to reduce the risk of more serious malocclusions in the future.

When expander is in place, there will be more room and all teeth will be able to erupt correctly. The upper jaw will be wider, and it is a fairly easy procedure to carry out. It is very little that the patient will feel any real pain although there will be a little discomfort. The jaw has not fused so this is the ideal time to fit a palatal expander appliance, as treatment as an adult can be a lot more complicated.

There are three reasons why it is likely that this procedure will be needed:

  • Crossbite – the jaw is too small for the teeth to fit in and when biting the upper teeth at the back will go inside the lower ones rather than outside.
  • Crowding – it is easy to tell if there will not be enough room for all of the adult teeth to come through. When the upper jaw is widened, it creates additional space and there will not be the need to extract teeth at a later date.
  • Impacted teeth – a tooth that does not come out in time can be blocked in by ones that have. A wider jaw means that there is enough room for all the teeth.

Although not a medical reason, there will be a much nicer smile and it can reduce the amount of treatment that may be needed at a later date.

How a Palatal Expander Appliance Works

Each child has a custom made expander and it is made of two parts. These are connected by a central screw. The get the palatal expander device to work, the screw needs to be tightened a little each day. There is a special key provided for this purpose. The two palatal bones will be pushed apart, and this will continue until the jaw has reached the required dimensions.

Once the correct size has been reached it is necessary to keep the palatal expander appliance in place for a few more months. You don’t want to undo all the good work that has been done.

What Can Be Expected from a Palatal Expander Appliance?

There will understandably be a little pain or pressure when the key is being activated. This should only last for a few minutes. It has been described as less painful than when braces are being tightened.

Speech and eating may both be a little difficult until the child has got used to the palatal expander appliance being in their mouth. You may notice they develop a gap in the front teeth, but this is nothing to worry about. The few months this process takes will save the child a lot of issues as they grow.

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