What Should You Know About Palatal Expander?

Palate or palatal expanders are orthodontic appliances that enlarge the palate (roof of the mouth) over time which in turn create an extra room in a child's mouth. The purpose of palatal expansion in children is to expand narrow palates and align the upper teeth and jaw correctly. Only before the jaw has fully developed may this therapy be performed. Investing in palatal expansion at an early age is the most effective approach to prevent poor bites, crowded teeth, and other misalignment difficulties.

Types Of Appliances That Can Be Opted For


Each patient's expanders are custom-made for them based on their dental arch and palate size. The devices are available in both permanent and detachable configurations. The following are examples of common expanders:

  • Rapid Palatal Expander - Narrow palates, crowding, and crossbites can all be corrected with the fast palatal expander. With a screw in the center, the appliance fits over a few back teeth in the upper jaw. To start an RPE, you use a specific key to turn the screw a small amount each day to build tension between the two palatal bones. The purpose is to broaden the dental arch, widen the maxilla (upper jaw), and shift the teeth within the bone. The jaw widens when the two palatal bones separate over time. After the necessary expansion is achieved, most orthodontists keep the appliance in place for a few months to allow new bone to grow. Palate enlargement treatment usually takes 3 to 6 months.

  • Implant-Supported Expansion - Implant-supported expanders are usually required for mature adolescents. Heavy efforts are required to successfully broaden the jaw and palate once the jaw is nearly fully formed. Four mini-implants are used in this therapy to apply force directly to the maxillary bone rather than the teeth.

  • Removable Palatal Expander - When a patient simply requires minor jaw widening, an orthodontist will usually recommend a detachable expander. These products resemble acrylic retainers in appearance, but they are made of chrome.

  • Palatal Expansion With Surgical Support - A completely grown jaw is usual as a person reaches full adulthood (puberty). However, some jaws may not fully grow until they are between the ages of 21 and 25. An orthodontist must surgically introduce an expander into the mid-palatal suture if this is the case.


Reasons To Go For Palate Expansion


The following are the three most common scenarios that signal the necessity for maxillary expansion:

  • Crowded Teeth - Baby teeth that have loosened but later tighten back into the gums, inhibiting the eruption of permanent teeth, are known as over-retained teeth. Dental crowding develops if the primary teeth are not pulled, which is a condition that happens when there is insufficient space for teeth to grow in. Palate expanders can help you avoid extractions by making room for your permanent teeth to grow. An orthodontist can assess how much space is available in your child's mouth before his or her adult teeth erupt. Palate expansion may be required if the jaw appears to be too small to prevent dental crowding as the permanent teeth emerge.

  • Crossbites - When biting down, a crossbite occurs when the upper and lower teeth do not align properly. When the two jaws are closed, crossbites occur when some bottom teeth are outside the upper teeth. Palate expansion treatment can sometimes correct this form of malocclusion.

  • Impacted Teeth - An impacted tooth is lodged beneath the gums and is blocked by adjacent teeth. Extractions are recommended by dentists to prevent the risk of illness and jaw misalignment. Palate expanders can help enlarge the jaw and allow permanent teeth to grow properly.


We hope that you now have a clear understanding of palate expansion. It is our pleasure to let you know that here at Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we use rapid palatal expanders to provide quality pediatric orthodontic treatment in Tinley Park and nearby. Book an appointment for your kid today.