Palatal Expanders

by | Feb 25, 2013 | Dentistry

An Orthodontist can be seen for many problems involving the bite. For some young people in Hagerstown, MD, braces may not be adequate for treating problems with the spacing of teeth in their mouths. Some children are born with narrow palates, which can cause complications later in life. A palatal expander widens the palate with gentle and constant pressure, gradually expanding the palate to a healthy size.

A palatal expander has many names. They are also known as a rapid palatal expander, an orthodontic expander, a palate expander, or a rapid maxillary expansion appliance. No matter what they are called, their function is the same: to widen the upper jaw. It is fit between the upper teeth and sits just below the roof of the mouth and works by applying pressure to slowly widen the upper jaw. A patient uses a key to turn a screw at regular intervals, depending on the case, to gradually open up the palate expander to a wider size.

Palate expanders are used to both fix the alignment of a bite and the spacing of teeth. If the upper jaw is narrower than the lower jaw then the teeth will not fit together. This can cause problems with pain further down the line. Also, a narrow jaw means that teeth are often cramped too closely together, which can cause numerous problems for the patient. Teeth that are grouped too tightly will be harder to brush and will take away from the appearance of a smile, potentially lowering self-esteem and causing feelings of self-consciousness.

Palatal expanders are not limited for just children. Although the effects are usually more comfortable for the very young, an Orthodontist in Hagerstown, MD may prescribe a palatal expander to an adult who needs treatment for the same reasons that a child would. Palatal expanders are just as effective with adults at relieving the problems caused by an excessively narrow palate. Palatal expanders are usually worn for about nine months before they can be removed, though this depends on the case. The frequency of timing of need to screw the palatal expander also depends on the individual patient and how far along he or she is in treatment.

An Orthodontist can do much more than straighten teeth. Orthodontists in Hagerstown, MD treat a range of problems involving the teeth and jaw, including the spacing of the palate. Palate expanders are a simple way to correct the spacing of teeth either as a precursor to braces or on their own. They help with comfort and creating a healthy bite to prevent problems down the line, both for children and adults.

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