For kids who have a narrow upper jaw, a device called a palatal expander can help. Families in and around Easton and Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, rely on Jean Seibold McGill, DDS, MS, PC, and the team at McGill Orthodontics for early orthodontic treatment, including expanders. Booking a visit is fast and easy online or over the phone.
An orthodontic expander, also called a palatal expander, is a device that creates more space in a child’s upper jaw. Expanders are made of two metal components that span your child’s hard palate and connect in the middle. These pieces are secured to several of your child’s top back teeth.
The two pieces are joined in the middle with a small screw. A separate key connects with the screw, allowing you to turn it and increase the pressure on the expander, which over time causes the bones of the palate to move apart, widening the upper jaw.
A palatal expander is a versatile tool that helps Dr. McGill accomplish a number of goals. Some of the uses for a palatal expander include:
During your child’s free orthodontic consultation you can discuss how a palatal expander might enhance the treatment process. The end result may help your child avoid extractions and other dental treatments, and go a long way toward enhancing the results of orthodontic treatment.
All this talk of turning screws and expanding bones might lead you to believe that going through palatal expander treatment is a painful process. In reality, the force applied during treatment is increased very gradually. There is no significant pain, and nothing to fear.
It can take some time for a child to become used to the sensation of wearing an expander. Not only do these devices sit on the roof of the mouth, but they also require daily turning to keep the treatment progress moving forward.
Parents and kids quickly get used to the process of adjusting the expander each day. Most choose to incorporate this into nightly dental hygiene routines. Palatal expanders are generally activated over a period of 1-2 months. Dr. McGill will usually leave the expander in place for 9-12 months to allow bone to fill into the area increasing our chances for long term change.
When you’re ready to learn more about expanders and all of the other early orthodontic treatments available from McGill Orthodontics, book your visit by calling the office. Online scheduling is also available.