What is a Palatal Expander?
A palatal expander is a dental device used to widen the upper jaw in order to create more space for proper alignment of the teeth. It consists of a metal framework that fits across the roof of the mouth and is secured with bands around the back teeth. The expander has a screw in the middle that can be adjusted by the orthodontist to gradually widen the upper jaw.
Why would a Palatal Expander be needed?
A palatal expander is commonly recommended by orthodontists to correct certain dental conditions. One of the main reasons is to address a narrow upper jaw or a crossbite. A narrow upper jaw can cause crowded teeth, a misaligned bite, and breathing problems. By expanding the palate, the expander allows the teeth to move into their proper positions, creating a more balanced and functional bite.
Who would be a candidate for a Palatal Expander?
Candidates for a palatal expander are individuals, typically children or adolescents, who have a narrow upper jaw or a crossbite. Orthodontists assess the patient's dental and facial structure to determine if a palatal expander is necessary. The expander is most effective in individuals whose jaw growth is not yet complete, as it takes advantage of the natural growth process to widen the palate gradually.
What happens during the Palatal Expander procedure?
During the palatal expander procedure, the orthodontist will first conduct a comprehensive examination, including dental impressions, X-rays, and photographs, to create a customized treatment plan. Once the expander is ready, it is fitted and attached to the upper teeth using bands. The patient or their parent will be instructed on how to activate the screw in the expander using a special key. This turning process gradually widens the expander, exerting gentle pressure on the bones of the upper jaw. Regular check-ups with the orthodontist are scheduled to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments.
If you or your child has concerns about a narrow upper jaw or a crossbite, contact us, and our experienced orthodontist can provide you a valuable guidance and determine if a palatal expander is the right treatment option.