Orthodontic expanders are devices that are fitted to your child’s mouth to gently expand their palates. Expanders attach to the molars and are either permanently fixed or removable.
Expanders are used on children under the age of 13, before their midpalatal suture — the seam where the cartilage meets in the roof of your mouth — fuses together.
Your orthodontist can fit expanders to both the upper and lower jaw, depending on your child’s needs. When attached to the roof of the mouth, the expander stretches the palate. The lower arch can also be expanded, however since the lower arch is solid, a lower expander moves the lower teeth.
When your child’s palate is too narrow, it limits the amount of space available for their teeth. This leads to overcrowding. A narrow palate can also cause bite issues where your child’s upper and lower teeth don’t meet correctly.
These issues can make it difficult for your child to clean their teeth and cause problems with biting, chewing, and talking.
An expander attaches to your child’s molars with metal rings and spans the arch of their palate. The device usually includes a screw that is turned every day to slowly and gently stretch the cartilage of their palate over a period of weeks or months. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to turn the screw each day, which your Braces Culture orthodontist gives specific instructions on.
While the expander may seem intimidating, it shouldn’t cause pain. Expanders put pressure on your child’s teeth and the roof of their mouth, and they might also experience pressure in their sinuses.
Your child may need a little time to adjust to the expander, as it changes the way they chew and speak.
You may want to provide your child with soft foods like soup, mashed potatoes, and yogurt while they get used to the expander. After they become accustomed to the expander, your child should be able to eat normally.
Dental hygiene is very important while wearing an expander or any kind of braces.
In addition to brushing twice day and flossing daily, you may want to use a special waterjet or syringe to rinse any debris from under the expander. You can also use a flexible palate cleaner to push any food or material out from under the expander.
Call or book an appointment online today to learn more about expanders.
Our office accepts most major dental insurance providers. For additional questions regarding insurance, please contact our office.