How Do Palatal Expanders Work?

Posted on: March 2, 2019

Looking for information on palatal expanders because your child is in need of orthodontic treatment? If your child does not have enough room for their permanent teeth to grow in, has one or more impacted teeth or has a crossbite, then it is likely that they will need an expander to correct their orthodontic problems.

It is always a good idea for children to see a dental professional as early as possible and on a regular basis, as any problems found are much easier to correct when children are younger. A child’s bones and soft tissue are much easier to manipulate when they are young because they are still growing and therefore still soft.

What are palatal expanders?

A palatal expander is a dental device that is worn in the mouth with the goal of creating more space in the mouth by gradually and carefully widening the upper jaw. They are custom made for each patient and stay in place by attaching to a few of their teeth. It will take a child some getting used to when they first start wearing their new device, but that is to be expected with any dental device.

How do palatal expanders work?

When children are young their upper jaw has not completely come together yet. It is still divided into two different sections and will not completely come together until they are in their early teens. The device consists of two different pieces that connect together in the middle of the mouth and require a dental professional to make regular adjustments, eventually allowing the palatal bones to be in their proper position. As the adjustments continue, it is possible for children to experience pressure in the area, gaps in between their two upper front teeth, a bad bite as the jaw works to correct itself (that will eventually subside) and the ability to breathe more easily.

It is essential for a child to be closely monitored during this time, which is why they will need to see a dental professional multiple times during the first couple of months of the treatment. After this period of time, and if all is going well, the parents are able to make any necessary adjustments to the child’s device at home.

Is your child currently in need of a palatal expander?

Now that you understand how palatal expanders work you should feel much more comfortable when it comes time for your child to get this device placed in their mouth. Make sure to let your child know what to expect as well, as the better prepared they are to wear this device, the easier it will be for them to wear it. Let them know that it may feel strange for them to talk, chew, eat and swallow for up to a week after having the device installed, but this will quickly subside over a short period of time. Be sure to remind them why it is necessary for them to wear the device and how happy they will be with the way they look when they smile once the treatment process is over.

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