What is A Palatal Expander?

palatal expanderThe Breakdown of What it Does & Why it’s Used

Did you know there’s more to orthodontics than just braces and retainers? Our doctors in Bridgewater, Brockton, Canton, Hyannis, Hyde Park, Orleans, Randolph and Stoughton treat facial and jaw growth too, for a bite that looks at good as it functions.

One of the appliances our doctors use is called a palatal expander. It works extremely well at gently widening the jaw and roof of the mouth (palate). During the widening process, a number of narrow jaw issues can be treated and reduced.

Timing is Everything

Unlike braces that can work when growth is complete, palatal expanders are most effective when they’re put to use before facial structure is fully developed. As a child gets older, their growth plate (which is part of the palatal bone tissue) continues to expand and is usually complete by puberty.

How it Works

The expander attaches to the inside of your upper molars, on both sides of the mouth. It’s constructed of two halves, connected in the middle with a screw. With a slight turn each day, tension is created prompting the surrounding bone to gradually expand. New bone will form to fill in the gap. Typically worn for 3 to 6 months, palatal expanders are usually removed once the desired result is achieved.

What it Treats

Palatal expanders effectively treat:

  • Posterior crossbites
  • Crowded and impacted teeth
  • Breathing issues

Palatal expanders do not necessarily eliminate the need for braces, but they can help shorten the length of treatment time. If you or your child does get a palatal expander, you may notice a slight change in speech and extra saliva. Some food may be a bit tricky to eat too. We recommend trying foods that don’t require a lot of chewing at first. In no time, your child will adjust and adapt.

Accepting new patients in Bridgewater, Brockton, Canton, Hyannis, Hyde Park, Orleans, Randolph and Stoughton.

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