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Orthodontic Expander in Surrey

Orthodontic Expander in Surrey

An orthodontic expander (or palate expander) is an oral device designed to widen the upper jaw if it is too narrow. But when is it needed? In today's article, our Surrey orthodontists share everything you need to know about orthodontic expanders.

Palate Expanders

A palate expander (also called an orthodontic or palatal expander) is used to widen an upper jaw that is too narrow. Dental expander fits on the roof of the patient's mouth, gradually separating the two halves of the upper jawbone.

Palate expanders are more successful when used on children, however, they can also provide teens and adult patients with effective treatment option to fix their orthodontic issues.

When Orthodontic Expanders Are Used

A palate expander widens the jaw, providing more space for permanent teeth to come in, or improving the way the upper teeth and lower teeth fit together. Sleep apnea can also be treated by expanding the narrow palate.

That being said, palate expanders are more often used for children who require upper jaw expansion, including those with:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Overlapping teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Impacted teeth
  • A misaligned bite
  • Difficulty chewing
  • A narrow smile

How Orthodontic Expanders Work

The roof of your mouth (your palate) has two halves that are connected in the middle (where the left and right sides of your palate fuse together). A palate expander sits on the roof of your mouth and applies gentle pressure and consistent pressure to each side of your palate, separating them apart.

This orthodontic device is designed to widen the upper jaw (upper arch and upper molars), and as your palate separates, new palatal bone regenerates to fill in the space left behind.

How Long Palate Expanders Are Needed

After a palate expander is placed in the mouth, it will typically stay there for at least six months, but orthodontic treatment time can take as long as a year. Prematurely removing the expander can cause the expansion to relapse rather quickly.

The expander may even be left in for a few weeks or months following the completion of the expansion. This is because it can take up to a full year for your body to fill in the missing palatal bone after the palate has been expanded.

When is a palate expander necessary?

An orthodontist will only recommend a palatal expander if it is necessary to correct the misaligned bite and correct position.

For a posterior crossbite in a child, a palatal expander is the ideal method for fixing the skeletal correction. Palate expanders are very effective in fixing skeletal jaw problems, because when the upper jaw is more narrow than the lower, children will experience problems with their bite.

It is always beneficial to start your child's orthodontic treatment early. The benefit of utilizing a palatal expander as orthodontic appliance at a younger age is that there is an age limit when it comes to expanding the palate without jaw surgery.

Near the ages of 14 - 16 years old, the maxillary suture (what connects the left and right halves of the palate) of young boys and girls will fuse. At this time, the success rate of non-surgical palatal expansion decreases significantly. Because of this, utilizing a palate expander at the appropriate time is of the utmost importance.

Looking to learn more about orthodontic expanders? Contact our Surrey orthodontists for more information, orthodontic care or to book a consultation today for improving oral health.

Book your first consultation today with our experienced Orthodontists in Surrey.