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Why Your Child Might Need a Palatal Expander

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model teeth with a palatal expander

A palatal expander is a small appliance we can use to correct a wide variety of orthodontic issues that can’t be addressed with braces alone. It cannot only help straighten the teeth, but boost sleep quality and create an overall more attractive facial appearance as well! Could your child benefit from one? How do they even work? Your children’s orthodontist in Powell at Shirck Orthodontics is happy to explain in today’s brief and informative blog.  

What is a Palatal Expander?

Just like its name indicates, a palatal expander is used to literally widen the hard palate, or roof of the mouth. It does this using a small bar that is held in place using loops that go around the upper molars on both sides. With a tiny key, the bar is slowly extended over the course of months, applying a slight amount of pressure, and this stimulates the growth of new bone that enlarges the palate.

Reasons for a Palatal Expander

By expanding your child’s palate with this appliance, your Powell orthodontist can:

  • Fix & Prevent Overcrowding: When the roof of the mouth is too narrow, this causes the upper teeth to come in crooked. A palatal expander cannot only create enough room for the teeth to be straightened, but it can also make sure that the erupting teeth have plenty of space to come in properly.
  • Improve Breathing/Sleeping: Many childhood sleep breathing disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea, stem from a narrow palate that creates a restricted airway. Opening it up enables a child to get more oxygen during sleep, allowing for better rest and improved behavior/focus while awake.
  • Prevent Impacted Teeth: When a tooth is impacted, this means that it has become stuck within the gums while trying to come in because there isn’t enough room. The possibility of this increases drastically if a child’s palate is too small. Fortunately, an expander can stop this from happening.
  • Create a More Attractive Face: A palatal expander, in addition to all the health benefits, can also give a child a wider and more symmetrical facial appearance.

Will Your Child Need a Palatal Expander?

If your child’s upper teeth are crowded, or if you notice that they frequently snore or have sleeping difficulties, then they may be an excellent candidate for a palatal expander. Of course, we’ll need to confirm this by giving them an exam. While adjusting to the appliance might take your little one a few days, generally, this treatment is considered to be very comfortable, and it can be trusted to deliver predictable, positive, and lasting results.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is an award-winning orthodontist that prides himself on providing completely personalized care for every patient. In addition to traditional braces and Invisalign, he can also use a wide array of oral appliances to help your child achieve a straight and healthy smile as quickly and comfortably as possible. To learn more about their treatment options and get started on their orthodontic journey, contact Shirck Orthodontics today to schedule a FREE in-person consultation.