You may have heard of or even received a recommendation for the use of a palatal expander. Many people are unfamiliar with this device. Today we take some time to outline a brief summary on what this device does.
The expander is a device that increases the size of the upper dental arch. While your child’s bones are growing, the space between the two bones of the upper palate is filled with cartilage. The tissue in this area is flexible when children are younger, but gradually becomes solid by the time they are finished growing. This time usually occurs within adolescence. If the arch can be widened to accommodate the emerging permanent teeth then it may help lessen the need for future procedures.
There are several types of expanders on the market. They are custom-made appliances, commonly attached between the upper teeth on each side of the jaw. The two halves of the device are connected with a screw-type mechanism that can be adjusted to widen the upper palate and dental arch with gentle pressure. This is a slower, gradual process, with small adjustments usually made once or twice a day to slowly move the bones further apart. As weeks go by, you will notice a successful change in the spacing of the teeth. Your child might even develop a gap in the front teeth, which is normal and will generally close on its own.
As always, feel free to contact us today with any questions.