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Palatal Expander

Widen the Upper Jaw to Improve Oral Health

In order for teeth to align and function properly, there must be enough space for them in the dental arch. If the upper jaw is too narrow, an oral device called a palatal expander is inserted to gently widen the jaw. Dr. Astuto is a board-certified orthodontist who offers palatal expander treatment in Amarillo, Childress, Dalhart, and Hereford, TX. contact Full Smile Orthodontics today if you or your child requires palate expansion. Dr. Astuto will evaluate your needs and create a custom treatment plan to ensure your teeth align beautifully and function properly.

How Does a Palatal Expander Work?

A palatal expander fits in the roof of your mouth and is attached to the top back molars on both sides of the jaw. It is made of two parts that join together in the middle with a screw. You will be given a key to turn the screw, which rotates it to keep applying pressure to the jaw bone. Over time, this pressure causes the jaw bone to widen, creating enough room for permanent teeth to erupt into their correct position.

Palatal expanders can be used to treat a narrow jaw and correct other orthodontic issues, including:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Impacted teeth
  • Crossbite
  • Open bite
  • Overbite
  • Underbite

When to Begin Palatal Expansion

We recommend that a child begin wearing a palatal expander around age 7 or 8, which is around the time a child should see an orthodontist for the first time. When we begin treatment early, we can reduce the likelihood of the child developing future orthodontic issues and guide their developing teeth and jaws into the proper positions. Teens and adults can also wear a palatal expander in most situations, although because the facial bones are already developed, it can take longer to achieve the desired results.

What to Expect During Palatal Expansion

During your first visit, we will take 3D scans of your or your child’s mouth to identify the orthodontic issues that need to be addressed. If a palatal expander is right for you or your child, we will outline what to expect and create a timeline for your treatment. Palatal expanders can be worn with other orthodontic appliances, like braces or headgear, which may also be a part of your treatment plan.

Dr. Astuto will insert the palatal expander and show you how to tighten it with the key. We will explain how often to tighten the device and answer questions you have about wearing it. Palate expanders do not hurt while you wear them or turn the key. You may feel some pressure along the roof of your mouth, but this is normal and will subside quickly after each adjustment.

Just like braces and other oral appliances, it may take some time to get used to wearing a palatal expander. Stick to foods that are soft and require minimal chewing for about a week until you get used to eating with your expander.

How Long Do I Have to Wear a Palatal Expander?

The length of treatment will depend on the severity of the issues we are looking to correct and your cooperation in taking care of your appliances and tightening the expander as scheduled. Palatal expansion works the fastest with young children because the jaw bones are still developing. Therefore, treatment time for children is often faster than for teens and adults.

Children may achieve the desired jaw size with a palatal expander in 2–3 months, while an adult may need several months to a year. Once the upper jaw reaches the desired width, the expander is left in for 4–6 additional months while the jaw and teeth settle into their new position.

Palatal Expanders in Amarillo, Childress, Dalhart, and Hereford, TX

Our team at Full Smile Orthodontics looks forward to helping you and your family achieve a healthy smile. Palatal expansion is a safe and effective way to provide enough room for all of the teeth while contributing to a lifetime of good oral health. Contact our office in Amarillo, Childress, Dalhart, or Hereford, TX, for an appointment and to begin your or your child’s orthodontic treatment.

Creating Beautiful Smiles Is Our Passion

We look forward to helping you and your family achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. To begin your orthodontic journey, contact Full Smile Orthodontics today for a consultation.