Palatal Expanders 101: A Comprehensive Guide

Taking a closer look. Shot of a female dentist and child in a dentist office

Children Dental Center Indianapolis IN often utilize particular appliances and conventional braces to improve jaw alignment. These devices were specially created to alleviate jaw issues. These corrective devices come in various sorts, fashions, and patterns. An orthodontic expander is one of these tools that is used most often.

Palatal expanders’ functions

An orthodontic expander uses the soft spot to enlarge the upper jaw. The device is inserted into the roof of the mouth by attaching it to the upper back molars, which widens the jaw by dividing the left and right sides of the jaw.

The alignment of the upper and lower jaws is one of the things Childrens Dentist Indianapolis IN will check when examining a young patient. A child with a narrow upper jaw that requires an expander can detect it at a young age.

Why palatal expanders are used

Kids Dentist Indianapolis IN use expanders for a variety of purposes. However, there are two main justifications for using the device:

  • The upper jaw may be excessively thin in comparison to the lower jaw, similar to how one limb could be longer than the other. To fix this, we broaden the upper jaw to make it the same size as the lower jaw using an expander.
  • The upper jaw may not be large enough to accommodate the top teeth. With an expander, we may widen the upper jaw, which creates more space for all the top teeth to fit and lessens crowding.

Is an expander truly necessary for my child?

These tools are useful for treating certain diseases without needing more intrusive procedures or even merely for improving the patient’s smile. Maxillary enlargement may help with the following issues:

  • Crowding: If there is not enough area for teeth to erupt, the upper jaw might be widened to provide more room. This might avoid the need for tooth extractions to treat the region.
  • Crossbite: Due to the narrowness of the upper jaw, the top teeth at the rear of the mouth will shut within the lower teeth rather than protruding as they should. An example of a jaw alignment issue that may be fixed is a crossbite is the extension of the upper jaw.
  • Impacted teeth: The upper jaw may be expanded to provide a tooth with adequate room to occupy the right position if it has not completely erupted or is being obstructed by adjacent teeth. The most suitable procedure for canine teeth is this one.
  • Aesthetics: In rare circumstances, widening the upper jaw may also widen the grin. This procedure may be utilized to treat a gummy grin or a narrow smile.

Different types of expanders

There are several varieties of dentofacial orthopedic appliances, as was already noted. In actuality, various types within gadgets are referred to as expanders. Fixed and detachable expanders fall into the two primary groups. The distinction between the two is that whereas detachable expanders may be removed from the mouth, fixed expanders are cemented into the mouth.

Because detachable expanders are more likely to be misplaced and come with the extra inconvenience of needing to be inserted and withdrawn repeatedly, fixed expanders are more common. Furthermore, patients often don’t use detachable expanders as frequently as they should.

Care instructions for expanders

For your kid to maintain a healthy smile while receiving orthodontic treatment, the palatal expander must be cleaned with a toothbrush. Brush the palatal expander gently two times per day or after every meal. After eating, rinse with water to remove food debris, sometimes following up with an antibacterial mouthwash. Since your kid can take out and quickly clean a detachable expander from their mouth, maintaining one is simpler. Even though your child’s expander is detachable, they should clean it at least twice daily.

When should my kid start using an expander?

In life, timing is everything; this is true with orthodontic expanders. If we can enlarge the upper jaw before the soft region on the roof of the mouth hardens into bone, the expander will function optimally. Typically, throughout puberty, the upper jaw begins to solidify with bone.

Surgery is the only way to open up the upper jaw once the soft area has closed. It is crucial to complete upper jaw expansion at a young age, often between ages 8 and 12, to take advantage of growth potential to prevent surgery.

When I speak with an expander, would I sound different?

Most patients who begin using an orthodontic expander lisp a little while they grow acclimated to the tool. When their tongues adjust, most patients’ lisps disappear, and they resume speaking normally. The tongue must learn how to maneuver around the expander since it is located on the roof of the mouth. After the expander is in place, speaking aloud as much as you can aids in accelerating the process. Reading aloud to practice reading is beneficial for many patients.

Does using an expander can be painful for my teeth?

The expander treatment is often not too painful when we can do it at the appropriate age. The roof of the mouth’s soft area splits easily, making efficient, painless expansion possible. When the hyrax is twisted, children often experience a light feeling in their cheeks, nose, teeth, or roof of their mouth. After turning, it’s often only felt for a brief period before disappearing completely.

What happens if the expander is not performed at the proper age?

The soft region on the roof of the mouth hardens into bone if we cannot start our expander at the appropriate age. The expander may cause the extra patient discomfort when the growth center shuts down. Furthermore, since the expander only moves the teeth and not the jawbone, it is not nearly as successful.

After the suture heals, the patient must have surgery to expand the upper jaw. For this, Pediatric Dentist Indianapolis IN and an oral surgeon must confer with each other, diagnose the problem, and develop a treatment strategy. They will collaborate to coordinate the course of therapy to accomplish the intended outcome. By seeing Pediatric Dentistry Indianapolis IN at the right period of growth, receiving an early diagnosis, and starting the right course of therapy, surgery is easily averted.