At our practice in Maple Grove, your children’s dental health is important to us. We often see situations where there is insufficient space in a child’s mouth for permanent teeth to erupt. Problems such as overcrowding or misalignment of teeth can occur if left untreated. To ensure that this does not happen, an orthodontic expander can be used to provide the space required. This device will be secured to the child’s upper teeth and will progressively widen the jaw. It is most effective when the child’s natural bone growth is still active.
Palatal expander is the term most people know as orthodontic expansion treatment. It is a custom-made appliance that is fitted over several teeth in the back of the mouth and is composed of two halves connected in the middle with a screw. The process of widening of the jaw is accomplished by turning that screw with a unique key. This key activates the device and places tension on the palatal bones, which will eventually result in the separation of the bones. The key must be turned once or twice a day to achieve the desired results. Sometimes the pressure will be felt and some soreness will occur. This appliance has been known to affect speaking and eating until the patient becomes accustomed to it. Typically, it will remain in the mouth for an additional three months to ensure that the new bone is growing and the expansion is stabilizing.
When Might This Treatment Be Needed?
Instances in which orthodontic expansion may be used:
1. Misalignments 2. Not enough room for permanent teeth to surface 3. Impacted teeth 4. Can Adults Use Orthodontic Expanders?
Orthodontic Expanders are seldom used in adults because bone tissue and cartilage growth is complete and much harder than in younger people. For this reason, the procedure is more uncomfortable and difficult. In certain unique situations, orthodontic expansion may be required in adults and our highly trained orthodontists will fully discuss the procedure to ascertain whether it is right for you.