What is a Palatal Expander?

April 25, 2016

Explanation of palatal expandersYou hear your dentist say you are going to need a palatal expander and your mind starts to race. What is this device and why do I need it? Don’t let your mind wander too far! A palatal expander isn’t as scary as it may sound and we are here to put your mind at ease. Let us explain exactly what this is and how it is used to help in your treatment.

What is a Palatal Explander

The palatal expander is a custom made device designed to widen a person’s upper jaw. It normally fits securely on the upper teeth towards the back of the mouth and is made up of two halves that are connected in the middle by a small screw. Expanders are used for the purpose of making additional room so that permanent teeth may grow in properly or for correcting a cross bite. A palatal expander may also be placed in the mouth for preparation for orthodontic work, including braces. It also may help children who need correction in their eruption paths, so that their teeth do not become impacted in the future.

How the Palatal Expander Works

The upper jaw is made up of two halves that are entirely separated from one another. The expander separates these halves at first, then it widens the distance between them. The expander works by turning a key inside the center of the expander 1-2 times per day. The turn of this key will push the arms of the expander by roughly 1-2 millimeters a week. There is usually some uncomfortable pressure after adjusting the expander, but the tension normally goes away after a few minutes. A palatal expander usually remains in the patient’s mouth for about 9 weeks, but this time may vary between patients.Various styles of expanders exist, though most of them work in the same manner.

There are many different dental issues that can be improved through the use of a palate expander. This is a determination that must be made by a professional. The staff here at Cronauer and Angelakis Orthodontists have your best interests in mind. Contact our office today to set up a consultation to find the right solution for you or your child.

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