palatal expander
 

Palatal Expander

The palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. In our practice, we use the mini expander as it is more comfortable and equally effective as the larger one. The ideal time to expand the palate is between the ages of 7-8 when the palatal suture has not begun fusing. Usually once puberty hits, the suture begins to fuse.  Expanding the palate can resolve crowding and correct a skeletal crossbite (narrow upper jaw)and aid in the advancement of the upper jaw when using a reverse pull headgear to correct underbites.

Sinus and Airway 

Did you know that orthodontic treatment can help manage airay developement in growing children. Airway obstruction can lead to a variety of issues such as mouth breating, abnormal dental developement,malocclusion, and sleep apnea to name a few.

Causes of Airway Obstruction

  • Small/High/Narrow Palate
  • Small/Short/Retruded Lower Jaw
  • Class II Malocclusion/Over-jet

Chronic Mouth Breathing

Chronic mouth breathing can lead ot a varity of bite problems, such as open bite, over-jet, corwding, Class II malocclusion and cross-bite.

Early Treatment:

Orthodontist can help to screen children for signs of mouth breathing, malocclusions, and other airway obstruction conitions such as sleep apena. With early intervention, orthodontists are able to decect and help to prevent growth abnormaligies which can lead to future breathing problems and bite problems.

Orthodontic appliances such as a palate expander can be used to help widen upper teeth which ahve been proven to help imorove the airway in children.

 

Adjusting the palatal expander

The animation below will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.

Adjusting the palatal expander

You can also download these instructions in a printable PDF document.

Step 1

Step 1

In a well-lit area tip the patient's head back.

Step 2

Step 2

Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.

Step 3

Step 3

Pushing the key towards the back of the mouth, you will notice the fender will rotate and the new hole will appear. The rotation stops when the key meets the back of the expander.

Step 4

Step 4

By pushing back and down towards the tongue, remove the key. The next hole for insertion of the key should now be visible.

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