What is a Palatal Expander?
Basically, a palatal expander is a device attached to the patient’s upper jaw to widen it therefore making the teeth fit together better. Commonly, expanders are used in children to widen their jaw making enough space or room for the developing teeth. The use of palatal expander is not limited among kids as it has also been used in adults successfully, however the effects of expansion causes slight discomfort among them.
After using the palatal expander, most patients will need to use braces for several months or years in order to position the teeth correctly once enough space is created by the expander.
What are the benefits of using the palatal expander?
There are various benefits of using palatal expanders. One of which include curing the problem of overcrowded or congested teeth. Furthermore, if also corrects cross bite of the patient’s back teeth if he or she has one. Aside from creating more space for teeth to grow properly, this can also increase the width of a smile therefore improving its overall appearance. Lastly, if constriction of the nasal passages blocks the airflow, using palatal expanders can help improve this condition. Generally, using expanders can help make the patients’ teeth healthier and easier to clean. Patients can also gain self-confidence as they won’t have to be ashamed of their congested teeth anymore.
How long do you need to wear an expander?
Just like orthodontic braces, the effects of wearing a palatal expander aren’t something that can be achieved overnight. Patients will have to wear them for several months or even years depending on the individual case. Before installing the expander, your orthodontist will evaluate your current condition and based on his or her diagnosis, the exact duration of your treatment will be identified.
It normally takes 24 to 48 hours before patients get accustomed to their expanders.
How does the expander work?
The palatal expander has a screw attached to the center that controls the expansion of the appliance. Either the patients or the orthodontist can turn the screw therefore adjusting its tightness. Patients should follow the orthodontist’s instructions for their expanders as wrong adjustments can make it very painful for the patients.
Does the installation or adjustment hurts?
In some cases wherein the expander or adjustments hurt, patients should stop turning the screw immediately. In case the pressure is still hurting after an hour, you can try taking a turn off your appliance. If this was done properly, the pain can stop immediately. Since these are just first aid applications, you will need to contact your orthodontist immediately after feeling the pain or turning off the key. Your orthodontist will evaluate your condition and depending on it, he or she will make proper adjustments to your appliance.
Results of the Expander
In several cases, a space between the two upper front teeth may develop especially in kids. If you notice this, don’t be alarmed as this is a good indicator that your expander is working properly. Although spaces created are quite large and may cause the patients to get embarrassed, this condition is only temporary as this will be corrected using braces when your palatal treatment is done. In other cases, the spacing will be gone after the treatment naturally and using braces won’t be necessary.
If the expander is turned too quickly, patients may feel discomfort and pain as excessive pressure cannot be handled by the teeth. This can be avoided by making sure to follow instructions or by letting your orthodontist do the adjustments for you.
If you have any more questions regarding palatal expanders, please free to contact us and we will supply you with the information you need.