Having the correct jaw size is vital to prevent dental issues such as overcrowding and crossbites. Jaw corrections are made possible with devices like upper jaw expanders while a child still grows. Increased mouth space allows more comfortable and straight teeth growth, lessening the time necessary for later treatments like braces.
Learn about upper palate expanders from Hanigan & Johnson Orthodontics and how they can provide your child with a healthier and happier smile.
What Is an Upper Palate Expander?
An orthodontic expander widens a patient’s jaw. Kids and pre-teens have a soft spot on the roof of their mouth called a mid-palatal suture. The left and right sides connected to this soft spot allow the upper jaw to widen as a kid grows. The area typically fills with bone that hardens after puberty. An expander usually connects to the top of a patient’s mouth via the top back molars and separates the left and right sides, widening the cartilage and jawbone to create more space.
What Issues Can an Upper Palate Expander Fix?
When your jaw isn’t the right size, your body naturally adjusts to fix it. This shift tries to protect teeth by altering how you bite. Changes like this can lead to discomfort called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues, causing symptoms like jaw locking and clicking and difficulty chewing.
If your jaw alignment doesn’t naturally correct, your bite may worsen over time into something called a traumatic bite. This condition creates the potential for permanent teeth damage due to enamel chipping and breaking. Expanders provide solutions for these common issues:
- Crossbite: Sometimes, an upper jaw is more narrow than the lower jaw. An expander widens the upper jaw so that it matches the size of the lower jaw, creating a healthy bite.
- Overcrowding: Widening an upper jaw provides more space for upper teeth to grow. Having enough room alleviates overcrowding and makes the teeth grow in more comfortably.
- Impacted teeth: An expander may be needed if teeth emerge where existing teeth already are. Expanding your jaw allows teeth to grow in their proper positions without blocking other teeth.
Do Dental Expanders Hurt?
Dental expanders provide some initial discomfort due to the weight of something new and different in your mouth. Widening the expander with a key based on your orthodontist’s instructions also creates some pressure on the mouth and tongue for a few minutes. Taking over-the-counter pain medication an hour prior can alleviate the sensation for a more comfortable experience.
Caring for Your Expander
Cleaning your expander is critical for a healthy orthodontic experience. All expanders should be cleaned twice daily or after each meal. Gently brush and rinse the device with water to remove food particles. Occasionally use an antibacterial mouth rinse for the most sanitary results.
Why Choose Us?
At Hanigan & Johnson Orthodontics, our professionals provide over 200 years of experience in premier care combined. We specialize in offering the best dental treatments for accessible prices. During your orthodontist appointment, we’ll discuss your unique jaw alignment and device options like dental expanders. Our patients receive best-in-class solutions for long-term healthy smiles.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Jaw corrections provide the most benefits when integrated sooner. Request a free consultation to get started today!