What to Know About Palatal Expanders
Many parents are surprised to learn that we recommend that children are seen for their first orthodontic visit when they are over the age of seven. It is not uncommon for parents to think that our job is to merely to straighten teeth and not realize all of the components that need to work together to create the perfect smile. Long before we can work on straightening the teeth with braces, we need to improve the jaw alignment if the upper jaw is not the proper size. When the jaw is too narrow, we may introduce hardware known as a palatal expander.
What is a Palatal Expander?
A palatal expander is a device used to create more space in the upper jaw by gradually widening the area. It is beneficial to use this method before a child reaches puberty because the jaw is still in two separate halves and easier to move. Palatal expanders can assist with patients who suffer from issues with crossbite, crowding, and impacted teeth. Using this method can help create room for adult teeth to fit when they grow in. This can also assist with children who suffer from breathing difficulties.
How Do Expanders Work?
A palatal expander is a piece of hardware that attaches to several top teeth in the back of the mouth and is customized for each patient. The appliance is typically two separate pieces that are attached in the middle by a screw. We will assign directions per each individual case. Once the desired placement of the jaw is reached, the expander will remain on the teeth for a time to ensure no further movement takes place. The average treatment lasts for approximately three to six months. There can be some discomfort as the jaw is moving. When the hardware is first installed, a learning curve for speaking properly can be expected.
If you are located in the Southfield, MI area and have a child that needs to be evaluated for orthodontic care, please contact the office to schedule an appointment. We look forward to meeting with you soon.