If Dr. Brad Gilbert, Dr. Adam Wells and our team at SmilesForever Orthodontics have recommended a palatal expander, you might be wondering what it is and how it will help you. A palatal expander is a small appliance fitted in your mouth to create a wider space in the upper jaw. It is often used when there is a problem with overcrowding of the teeth or when the upper and lower molars don’t fit together correctly. While it is most commonly used in children, some teens and adults may also need a palatal expander.
Reasons to get a palatal expander
There are several reasons palatal expander might be recommended to you for treatment:
- When there is insufficient room for permanent teeth currently erupting
- When there is insufficient space for permanent teeth still developing which might need extraction in the future without expansion of the upper jaw
- When there is either a front or a back crossbite with a narrow upper arch
How long will you need the palatal expander?
On average, patients have the palatal expander for four to seven months, although this is based on the individual and the amount of correction needed. Several months are needed to allow the bone to form and move to the desired width. It is not removable during expansion and stabilization treatment and must remain in the mouth for the entire time.
Does it prevent the necessity for braces?
The palatal expander doesn’t necessarily remove the need for braces in the future, but it can in some cases. Some people only need braces because of overcrowding of the teeth or because of a crossbite, which a palatal expander can help correct during childhood, when teeth are just beginning to erupt. However, others may need braces if, once all their permanent teeth come in, they have grown in crookedly or with additional spaces between.
If you think your child could benefit from a palatal expander, or want to learn about your own orthodontic treatment options, please feel free to contact any of our Duluth, Dacula, Flowery Branch or Loganville, GA offices! You are always welcome to view our website and FaceBook pages to learn more about orthodontic treatment and our exciting office.