Take Charge of Your Child’s Orthodontic Health
Orthodontic issues such as crowded or misaligned teeth can affect oral health and confidence. Palatal expanders can help correct these issues by widening the upper jaw. Discover if palatal expanders from the Centre for Invisible Orthodontics are ideal for your child’s orthodontic needs. Our Miami, FL, orthodontist, Dr. Stephen Grussmark, can assess their oral health and determine the best course of action.
What Are Palatal Expanders?
Palatal expanders help widen the upper jaw or palate. The palate is the roof of the mouth, and the goal of palatal expanders is to increase the width of the palate, creating more space in the mouth for teeth to grow.
These orthodontic appliances are often used in children and adolescents whose palates are still developing. By expanding the palate, our Miami orthodontist can create more room for crowded teeth, reduce the need for tooth extractions, and correct problems with the bite.
When Are Palatal Expanders Necessary?
Dr. Grussmark may recommend palatal expanders for patients experiencing:
- Crowding: If there’s not enough space in the upper jaw to accommodate all of the teeth, a palatal expander may be necessary to create more room.
- Crossbite: A crossbite occurs when the upper teeth are positioned inside the lower teeth when the jaw is closed. A palatal expander can widen the upper jaw to correct a crossbite.
- Impacted Teeth: Sometimes teeth are impacted, meaning they can’t emerge properly due to a lack of space. A palatal expander can create more space, allowing the impacted teeth to emerge.
- Breathing Issues: In some cases, a narrow upper jaw can cause breathing problems. A palatal expander can help widen the jaw and improve breathing.
- Speech Issues: A narrow upper jaw can also affect speech, making it difficult to pronounce certain sounds. A palatal expander can widen the jaw and improve speech.
It’s crucial to note that palatal expanders aren’t necessary for every orthodontic case. The decision to use a palatal expander will depend on the specific needs of each patient, as determined by our South Florida orthodontist.
How do Palatal Expanders Work?
Palatal expanders work by applying gentle pressure to the upper jaw (maxilla) to gradually widen it. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how they work:
- Placement: A palatal expander is custom-made for each patient and attached to the upper molars using metal bands or rings.
- Activation: The expander is activated by turning a key in a small screw located in the middle of the device. This creates tension on the metal bands, which widens the expander and the upper jaw.
- Bone Growth: As the expander widens, new bone forms in the gap created by the device, filling the space and stabilizing the newly widened jaw.
- Retention: Once the jaw has achieved the desired expansion, the palatal expander will be left in place for some time to allow for bone growth and stabilization. After this period, your orthodontist will remove the device, and the patient will wear a retainer to maintain the new position of the teeth and jaw.
Benefits of Palatal Expanders
Palatal expanders can offer several benefits for patients who require orthodontic treatment, including:
- Correcting Crowding: Palatal expanders can create more space in the mouth for crowded teeth, allowing them to grow properly and reducing the need for tooth extractions.
- Improving Bite: Palatal expanders can also correct problems with the bite, such as an underbite or crossbite. By widening the palate, the upper and lower teeth can come together more harmoniously, improving the overall function of the bite.
- Enhancing Facial Symmetry: Palatal expanders can also help improve facial symmetry by creating more space for the upper jaw to grow. This can be particularly beneficial for children and adolescents whose facial bones are still developing.
- Improving Oral Hygiene: By creating more space in the mouth, palatal expanders can make it easier to brush and floss effectively, improving overall oral hygiene.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best age to get a palate expander is typically between the ages of 8 and 14, while the jaw is still developing and the bones are more pliable. However, it’s important to note that every patient is different, and the decision to use a palate expander will depend on their needs.
Your child may still need braces after a palate expander, depending on the orthodontic issues being addressed. Palate expanders address issues related to the width of the upper jaw, while braces correct issues related to the alignment of individual teeth.
The length of time a child will wear a palate expander can vary depending on the specific needs of each case. Generally, most kids wear a palate expander for around three to six months, but this can depend on the severity of the orthodontic issue.
Whether or not palatal expanders are covered by insurance will depend on the individual insurance plan. Check with your insurance provider to determine coverage and any potential out-of-pocket costs.
Take the First Step to Enhanced Oral Health with Our Florida Orthodontist
If your child is experiencing orthodontic issues such as crowded or misaligned teeth, a palatal expander may be a viable treatment option. Consult with Dr. Grussmark to determine if a palatal expander is right for you.
Don’t wait to improve your oral health and confidence. Schedule an appointment today by calling our Miami, FL, office at (305) 441-1200. Patients in Brickell, Miami Beach, and Coral Gables can also book consultations online with our convenient contact form.