Palate expansion is something that can be done for either the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. Speak to your orthodontist near me or dentist about the suitability of this treatment for your family.
Palate expander – Orthodontic expander
If you’ve heard the words palate expander you may be searching for answers by looking up your local Miami Shores dentist for braces. If individuals think their children need a palatal expander they likely have lots of questions such as does it really attach to the roof of the mouth? Can a palatal expansion be blocked by other teeth or permanent teeth? Will there be any issues with the upper arch or upper teeth when expanding the upper jaw to its desired expansion? Will it have any effect on the front teeth or impacted teeth? Should this kind of orthodontic treatment for widening the upper jaw be a part of early orthodontic care or is it better to wait till adulthood before beginning palatal expansion? These are all valid questions and ones that many people simply do not know the answers to.
Before we get into the answers to these and many more, let’s take a look at what some of the experts of orthodontic medicine have to say about palate expanders.
When there are abnormalities with the upper jaw otherwise known as maxillary transverse discrepancy, the necessary treatment generally requires an expansion of the palate (Agarwal & Mathur, 2010).
Oral health specialists may employ a combination of orthopedic and orthodontic tooth movements to correct these abnormalities (Agarwal & Mathur, 2010).
There are three expansion treatment techniques that are used today. They include rapid maxillary expansion, slow maxillary expansion, and surgically assisted maxillary expansion (Agarwal & Mathur, 2010).
Is it normal to have teeth pain while in a palatal expander? Lower jaw expansion
The good news on this front is that while some individuals may have a little bit of trouble speaking and occasionally swallowing while their mouth becomes adjusted to having a new appliance installed, it is not usually painful for the vast majority of patients. A palatal expander is a fairly painless orthodontic treatment and can be an important part of maintaining your child’s oral health by widening the upper jaw.
The issues with speech or swallowing can sometimes be caused when palatal expander affects how an individual’s tongue touches the roof of their mouth. Since the palatal expander is usually attached to the roof of the mouth it will interfere sometimes with functions that also require that same space such as talking and swallowing. However even cases like these are very few and far between and the vast majority of kids adjust to the new circumstances very quickly.
Do I need braces if I have a palate expander? Can I wear braces and palate expander at the same time?
The answer to both of these is a simple yes. While a palatal expander will open up space for teeth to move, it is the braces which will actually move those teeth into the correct positions. It is very often that palatal expanders and braces are worn together so that as new space becomes available your teeth are already beginning to move into those positions. By having both of them working in tandem the treatment time is actually far less than it would be if you finished the palatal expansion and then attempted to move the teeth. That’s not to say that they aren’t done separately. It all depends on what your child needs.
Why do they do use palate expanders? And is it the same as a dental expander?
A dental expander and a palate expander are the same thing, although there are some variations in types. As for why they are used, the answers can be multifaceted. One might be because your teeth simply do not have enough space in your mouth. This overcrowding can occasionally be caused by a narrow palate. A palate is the top part of your mouth and if it is too narrow to accommodate the teeth in your upper jaw, then this can cause overcrowding and a whole host of dental issues.
However the use of a palatal expander can help widen that area making it easier for your teeth to align in the correct position, make it easier to speak, and can help mitigate a whole host of potentially problematic orthodontic issues.
What is the best age to get a palatal expander? Jaw expander
The best age to get a palate expander is as a child, usually around the ages of 8 through 10. This is because at this age the palate is naturally growing at a very rapid rate. This rapid rate of growth if utilized in conjunction with a palatal expander can help augment your child’s natural development and allow for the treatment to finish much sooner.
In some cases the palatal expander is able to provide all the space that a child’s adult teeth need and so occasionally orthodontic braces are not even required if the palatal expander is utilized early enough.
Can you wear an expander with braces and why is a palatal expansion needed when having braces?
While it is totally possible for individuals to wear braces with a palatal expander, only your orthodontic office will know if you even need a palatal expander. Palatal expansion is not necessary for everybody. Some individuals have enough space for their teeth or have a properly sized palate and may have a different issue which is causing their teeth to be crooked or misaligned.
It’s important before you make any decisions to talk with your orthodontic office whether you even need a palate expansion or not. If after consulting with your orthodontic office and they agree that a palate expansion is needed, this is most likely because your issue results from the fact that it is the narrowing of your palate which is causing an insufficient amount of space for your teeth.
If you have too many teeth for too few spaces, it is going to cause an orthodontic issue. The good news is that a palate expander can in many cases help to provide greater space. And, when used in conjunction with braces both devices can help move the teeth into the correct positions. Instead of simply having odd gaps in your teeth if you did the treatments sequentially, by doing them simultaneously you’re able to have your teeth fill the gaps as they are created, aligning your teeth beautifully in a fraction of the time.
Agarwal, A., & Mathur, R. (2010). Maxillary Expansion. International journal of clinical pediatric dentistry, 3(3), 139–146. https://doi.org/10.5005/jp-journals-10005-1069
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