How do palatal expanders work?
Expanders are secured to the top of your child’s mouth and are cemented over several top teeth toward the back of their mouth.
Unlike adults, a child’s upper jaw is actually in two halves. Over time, these halves fuse together. Expanders help give the jaw more space before this happens.
The expander, which is custom made for each patient, comes in two halves. These halves are then connected by a screw at the roof of the mouth. This screw must be turned every day so that the jaw can expand.
How long must palatal expanders be worn?
Expanders are typically worn for a few months. This time period gives the jaw a chance to expand and gives new bone the opportunity to grow in the gap created by the expanders.
Are palatal expanders painful?
Patients may experience some discomfort after turning the expander’s screw. However, this discomfort is short lived.
Children may also have difficulty eating or speaking at first due to their tongue’s proximity to the expander. However, this difficulty only lasts a short time until they grow used to the expander.
Why may someone need a palatal expander?
The main reason a patient may need an expander is that their mouth is too small to allow for teeth to grow in comfortably.
Other reasons a child may need an expander is if they have:
- A crossbite: When the upper jaw is smaller than the lower jaw, this can lead to uneven teeth and grinding.
- Impacted teeth: An impacted tooth is a tooth that has yet to grow in, usually due to a lack of space. An expander can help give the tooth more room.
- Overcrowding: The mouth is too small to allow for the proper growth of teeth. Overcrowding isn’t only painful, but can also make eating and talking difficult.
How old should a patient be for a palatal expander?
Palatal expanders are most effective in children before they reach puberty since their bones are still growing.
How much do palatal expanders cost?
If our orthodontists in Reading or elsewhere feel that your child requires palatal expanders, the price is included in the cost of braces.