A palatal expander is a common orthodontic appliance used in young children. While your child is still growing the expander will expand or widen the upper jaw by applying gentle pressure on the upper molars each time an adjustment is made. This appliance can improve the overall alignment and structure of the mouth so that the upper and lower teeth meet correctly.
Dealing With Crowding And Cross-Bites
Issues like cross-bites and crowding can be addressed effectively with a palatal expander in place. The appliance will widen the entire arch so that the adult teeth have sufficient room and issues like over and under-bites abate. The ideal time to expand the palate is between the ages of seven and eight when the palatal suture has not begun fusing. Usually once puberty hits, the suture begins to fuse.
How An Orthodontic Expander Is Installed
The palatal expander is attached to the upper arch with bands that are fixed around the teeth. A palatal expander can also be secured in place by bonding plastic over the teeth. There are a wide range of fixed and removable expanders to choose from. The benefit of having a fixed expander is that it is virtually impossible for patients to forget or lose them. This is a key benefit for young patients.
What To Expect After Having An Orthodontic Expander Installed
It is not uncommon for some patients to experience slight discomfort after having their palatal expander placed. This discomfort subsides after a few days but most patients will not experience any discomfort at all. Expanding the arch is relatively comfortable process, apart from a brief adjustment period. During the adjustment period, your child may feel slight pressure behind his or her nose, at the roof of the mouth and between the eyes.
During the adjustment period it is recommended that your child stick to a soft diet to limit their chewing. Recommended foods such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, soup and pudding are ideal. Your child can resume their normal eating habits within just a matter of days.
For more information about an orthodontic expander and how it can help your child, contact our office today at 203-292-6644.