As your child grows, primary (baby) teeth fall out and permanent teeth come in. Sometimes, there is not enough room in the jaw to accommodate these newer teeth, which tend to be much bigger than baby teeth. The palate is another name for the roof of the mouth and is made of bone and cartilage. Two parts of the palate come together in the middle (called the midline suture) and fuse during the mid-teen years; a palatal expander is most successful in pediatric patients. A palatal expander can add width to the child’s palate and potentially avoid unnecessary complications and extractions.
When the palate is too narrow, oral health problems such as bite issues, tooth alignment, and breathing issues can occur. A palatal expander can treat many orthodontic issues, such as crossbite, tooth crowding, impaction, and breathing issues.
When you come to Village Orthodontics, Dr. Jeff will assess your child’s orthodontic needs with a comprehensive exam. A palatal expander may be recommended as a part of your child’s orthodontic treatment plan.
The purpose of a palatal expander is to widen the palate. The custom-made appliance is attached to the upper molars and adjusted once or twice a day for gentle but steady pressure. A typical palatal expander works by using a special key that fits into a small screw device located in the middle of the appliance. Village Orthodontics uses the Max 2000 appliance, which is a keyless expander that comes with many palatal color choices. The appliance will still need to be adjusted; your orthodontist will give you specific instructions. Over time, the palate is widened through consistent stimulated bone growth. Some slight discomfort may be experienced while turning the device but should be fairly comfortable to wear most of the time. For most patients, the palate can be widened within 2 to 3 weeks, but the appliance will need to remain in place for several months to ensure the stability of the expanded palate.
If your child has been recommended for palatal expansion or is having any issues relating to a narrow palate, we encourage you to call Village Orthodontics. Dr. Jeff will formulate a treatment plan to suit your child’s unique orthodontic needs. We look forward to meeting you