What are palate expanders?
A palate expander is an orthodontic device that widens the palate or roof of the mouth slowly over time. Palate expanders consist of two metal pieces that connect in the middle with a screw. This device will fit over the top teeth at the back of your child’s mouth. Each day, your child will turn the screw to create tension and move the device’s two halves apart to expand the jaw gradually. Upper jaw expanders are often necessary to prepare for future braces.
Issues a palate expander can fix
Every child is unique, including the shape of their upper jaw. If your child’s palate is too narrow, it can cause jaw and bite misalignment. Using a dental expander allows your child’s teeth to grow properly and ensures their jaw is in the correct alignment. Some signs your child may need a palate expander include:
- Impacted teeth: An impacted tooth occurs when an adult tooth becomes trapped inside the gum or grows in the wrong direction. A palate expander will widen the palate to allow the tooth to grow in the correct position.
- Crowded teeth: If your child’s palate is too narrow, their teeth may begin to overcrowd their mouth and cause issues such as bunching, overlapping or twisting. Using a palate expander ensures your child’s teeth will have enough room for growing properly and possibly having braces.
- Crossbite: A crossbite is when your child’s upper back teeth bite inside the bottom back teeth. A palate expander will correct your child’s bite and prevent issues such as gum disease and chipped teeth.
Do palate expanders hurt?
Your child may experience some discomfort at first. Similar to braces and other orthodontic treatments, palate expanders may cause difficulty speaking or swallowing for the first few days as your child adjusts to the device. However, palate expanders do not cause pain when in use.
Caring for palate expanders
To ensure your palate expander remains in the best condition, brush the device at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. It is also beneficial to rinse the area around your palate expander with an oral irrigator to prevent food buildup.
Trust Rappahannock Orthodontics for quality care
At Rappahannock Orthodontics, we love to help our patients achieve a healthy smile. You can be confident your child will receive high-quality and compassionate care from Dr. Caspersen, Dr. Lowe, and our knowledgeable staff. Let us transform your child’s smile with an upper palate expander today. To learn more, schedule a complimentary consultation online at our Chatham or Amyclae offices, call us at 540-371-2611 today!