A Palatal Expander is an orthodontic appliance we use to widen your upper jaw.
Now, what exactly does this mean? Let’s break it down!
We are all born with two sets of teeth! After you lose your baby teeth, your adult teeth will make their way through the gums and out into plain site! This usually happens between the ages of 6-13 years old.
Sometimes your upper jaw is not wide enough to accommodate all of your adult teeth. So now what? Well, there are two things you can do;
- Have teeth extracted
- Have a Palatal Expander made
We Love Teeth!
We love teeth and want you to keep them all! Dr.Newman recommends being evaluated for treatment as young as 7 years old so that palatal expansion is an option. If you are an adult looking for orthodontic treatment and your teeth are severely crowded, Dr. Newman will usually recommend seeing an oral surgeon for extractions.
What Does A Palatal Expander Do?
An expander stretches the bone/cartilage of the palate to expand the arch in an effort to prevent crowding and cross bites. You could notice spacing between the teeth during you or your childs time with a Palatal Expander, this is a good thing! This simply means the upper jaw is widening and making more room.
What is the process of making a Palatal Expander?
- Our team will fit the patient with molar bands (metal rings that sit around the molar).
- After we find bands that fit, we take an impression of you upper jaw with the molar bands in place.
- The impression accompanied with the molar bands is sent to the lab to be made into a Palate expander. The expander is simply attached to the molar bands to ensure it fits your mouth.
*Take note that sometimes you will have seperators or little rubber bands placed between your molars and bicuspids in order to make room for bands.
How Does My Palatal Expander Work?
Once your expander is ready, our office typically asks you to come in a few days before insertion to have separators put in. We do this in order to make sure there is enough room for the molar bands to fit the molars.
To put the expander in we simply cement the molar bands of the expander on to your molars and wa la! Your expander is ready for use (be sure to bring someone who can be shown how to turn the expander).
Turning A Palatal Expander
- The key holder will tilt the patients head back and look for the hole on the expander
- Insert the key into the hole of the expander (Key insertion)
- Turn or push the expander key toward the back of the throat until you are able to see the next hole fully appear (Key turning)(The next visible hole)
- Remove the key from the expander
- You have successfully turned your expander!
How Will I Feel With My Palatal Expander?
At first, you will be very aware of your mouths brand new tenant. Furthermore, you might notice a lisp for a small period of time but this isnt permanent. Our team will often have you practice taking sips of water in order to adjust to drinking with the expander.
- All sticky foods
- Anything chewy
Caring For Your Expander
While brushing your teeth, be sure to brush the expander. Once food becomes stuck in the expander, the keyhole becomes blocked making it difficult to insert the key into the expander to successfully turn it.
Questions or Concerns?
If you feel that something just isn’t exactly right, you are unable to insert the key into the expander or the appliance is falling out. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office and come in for a visit!