What is a Palatal Expander?
Palatal expanders are orthodontic devices that gently widen the upper jaw of a child’s mouth, creating additional space. While the idea of using expanders may sound daunting, it is quite easy and very effective.
During a child’s developmental years, the upper jaw consists of two separate halves that are not fully fused together until puberty. During this period, a palatal expander – which resembles a retainer – can be used to gently separate the two halves of the jaw, allowing for gradual expansion over several months. Following this initial phase, the expansion will stabilize and continue to improve over the course of several additional months.
This treatment will also help broaden a patient’s smile, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing appearance, and improve breathing by increasing the amount of air that can flow through the nasal passages. Additionally, expanding the upper jaw can shorten the time a patient will need to wear braces in the future by ensuring enough space for the teeth to align properly.
Palatal expanders are commonly used with the following conditions:
- Crossbites – When a child’s upper jaw is too narrow, it can cause the top back teeth to bite inside the lower teeth instead of outside, resulting in a crossbite. Expanding the upper jaw can correct the bite, helping to ensure that the jaws develop correctly and reducing the risk of a lower jaw or chin deviation.
- Crowding – when there is not enough room for teeth to come in, by widening the upper jaw, the expander can help create additional space for permanent teeth to emerge without the need for tooth extractions.
- Impacted Teeth – When a permanent tooth is unable to emerge correctly due to obstruction by other
teeth. By widening the upper jaw, the expander can provide enough space for the tooth to emerge into
the correct position without surgical intervention.
Schedule Your Appointment
Let Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Manuele determine if this early treatment option is right for your child. Call or text 702-243-3300, or click the button below to schedule an appointment for your child today.
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