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What is A Palatal Expander?

Posted in Orthodontic Treatment Options, Articles

What is A Palatal Expander?

A Palatal expander widens the upper jaw (the maxilla) in children while their facial structures are still developing, so that the upper teeth fit together with the bottom ones properly.

Palatal expanders are extremely common orthodontic appliances for young children. While they may look somewhat intimidating, palatal expanders are quite easy to use. After a few tries, you’ll be completely used to it!

What are palatal expanders for?

‘Palatal expander’ is a literal name that describes exactly what these orthodontic appliances do. Palatal expanders expand the palate (or arch), in order make enough room for permanent teeth to grow into the correct positions as, and not become crowded in the mouth.

This is necessary when a child's jaw growth is not keeping up with the growth of his or her teeth, a fairly common issue.

How does a palatal expander work?

Palatal expanders can be either removable or fixed. The expander is attached to the patient’s upper arch with bands which are placed around the teeth. Or, it can be attached with a plastic material is bonded over the teeth.

The orthodontist will prescribe intervals at which the key of the expander must be turned, so that it widens the arch in small increments.

Does Palatal Expansion hurt?

Patients usually find that the expander feels a bit uncomfortable when it is first placed. In general though, palatal expansion doesn't cause much pain, aside from the occasional feeling of pressure on the teeth and the roof of the mouth.

To learn more about palatal expanders and how to use them, contact Austin Heights Orthodontics today to book an appointment.