If a child or early teen has a crossbite, or there isn’t enough room for their permanent teeth to come in (i.e. overcrowded teeth), many times a palate expander can do the trick. As these young children are still growing, their palate–the roof of their mouth–can be widened to help fix these issues. Depending on the needs of the child, a palate expander may be the only treatment necessary. Other times it can be the first of a more detailed process.
How Does It Work?
The palate itself is made up of two parts, which is how the palate expander is able to do its job. It applies pressure to the roof of the mouth, thereby moving the two parts of the palate apart. In younger children, the growth plates have not yet fused together, so it is possible to make these adjustments. Older teenagers and adults, however, already have a fused palate, so this process isn’t as effective.
The expander itself is also made up of two parts, connected by a screw in the middle. Depending on the instructions from your orthodontist, the screw is turned on a set schedule. Perhaps it will be turned once a day, but it could be more or less than that. This is done in order to applying continuing pressure to help the palate stretch. Once your orthodontist finds your palate to be where it needs to be, the expander will remain in your mouth for a few months longer. This way, the bone will be able to fill the gaps and fuse together properly.
We Can Help!
If your child has a crossbite, or if their dentist has recommended a palate expander, we can help! Dr. Snyder is a board certified orthodontist and has been working on smiles for over 20 years. Contact us today to receive a complimentary consultation!