Palatal Expanders: Your Path to Perfect Alignment

Achieve Ideal Dental Alignment and Facial Symmetry with Palatal Expansion

Breathe Easier, Speak Clearer: The Power of Palatal Expanders
Learn How Palatal Expansion Can Improve Breathing, Speech, and Overall Oral Health
Learn how Palatal Expanders can help your child maintain a healthy and beautiful smile

Palatal expanders are orthodontic appliances designed to widen the upper jaw, addressing a variety of dental issues such as crowded teeth, narrow dental arches, crossbites, and breathing difficulties.

This device operates by applying controlled pressure to the back molars, utilizing a nuanced mechanism to gradually widen the palate. Conceptually, it functions akin to wires exerting gentle lateral force on the molars. Central to its operation is a small pivotal component, activated daily by inserting a specialized key and applying rotational force. This action incrementally adjusts the wires, facilitating the desired expansion of the dental arch.

These devices play a crucial role in orthodontic treatment by creating additional space in the mouth, allowing for proper alignment of the teeth and improving overall oral health. They are particularly effective when used during childhood or adolescence when the palate is still developing.

Early intervention with palatal expanders can prevent more severe orthodontic problems in the future, emphasizing the importance of correcting jaw alignment and dental issues at an early age.

Who Needs Palatal Expanders?

Palatal expanders are recommended for individuals with various orthodontic issues, including:

  • Narrow Dental Arches: Some individuals have naturally narrow dental arches, which can lead to crowding of teeth and improper alignment.

    Palatal expanders are used to widen the upper jaw, creating additional space to accommodate the teeth properly.

  • Crowded Teeth occur when there isn’t enough space in the dental arch for all the teeth to erupt properly.

    Palatal expanders help alleviate crowding by creating space in the upper jaw, allowing teeth to move into their correct positions.

  • Crossbites occur when the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth rather than outside them when the jaw is closed.

    Palatal expanders can help correct crossbites by expanding the upper jaw to achieve proper alignment with the lower jaw.

  • Breathing Difficulties: Some individuals may experience breathing difficulties due to a narrow airway caused by a narrow palate.

    Palatal expanders can widen the upper jaw, thereby increasing the size of the airway and improving breathing patterns.

  • Impacted Teeth are teeth that are unable to erupt properly due to lack of space or obstruction.

    Palatal expanders can create additional space in the dental arch, allowing impacted teeth to move into their correct positions.

At Bourne Orthodontics in Lake Stevens, WA we help children keep healthy and happy smiles using safe and comfortable dentistry for kids. If your child is experiencing any of the issues above, please contact us for an exam.

Learn how Palatal Expanders can help your child maintain a healthy and beautiful smile
Discover the Benefits of Palatal Expansion
Improved Dental Alignment

Palatal expanders correct crowded or misaligned teeth by creating space in the upper jaw. This enhances dental alignment and promotes a balanced bite, reducing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and TMJ disorders.

Enhanced Facial Symmetry and Aesthetics

Palatal expanders widen the upper jaw, improving facial symmetry and aesthetics. This corrects dental irregularities and restores balance to facial features, resulting in a more attractive smile.

Magic wand
Potential Improvements in Overall Oral Health

Palatal expanders widen the upper jaw, alleviating breathing difficulties and speech impediments associated with narrow palates. This enhances breathing patterns, speech clarity, and overall oral health.

Understanding Palatal Expanders: How They Work
Clearing Up the Confusion: Get Informed About Palatal Expansion Treatment

Palatal expanders work by applying gradual pressure to the upper jaw, stimulating the growth of new bone tissue and causing the palatal bones to move apart. This gradual widening of the palate creates additional space in the mouth, allowing crowded or misaligned teeth to move into their correct positions.

The expansion process is typically achieved through regular adjustments of the expander by an orthodontist. Simple diagrams or animations can illustrate this process, making it easier for patients to understand how palatal expanders work and visualize the changes occurring in their mouths.

  • Fixed Expanders: Cemented onto the teeth and provide continuous pressure on the palate. Recommended for severe cases or when precise control of expansion is required.

  • Step 1: Consultation and Evaluation
    • Dr. Bourne will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s dental alignment and jaw structure to determine if palatal expansion is needed.
    • X-rays, dental impressions, and digital scans may be taken to assess the current condition of the teeth and palate.
  • Step 2: Fabrication of Palatal Expander
    • If palatal expansion is recommended, Dr. Bourne will take impressions or digital scans of the patient’s teeth and palate.
    • These impressions or scans are used to create a custom-made palatal expander that fits the patient’s mouth comfortably and securely.
  • Step 3: Installation
    • Once the palatal expander is fabricated, the patient will return to the our office for installation.
    • We will cement or bond the expander onto the patient’s teeth, typically on the upper molars.
    • Bands or brackets are attached to the expander, providing anchorage for the expansion mechanism.
  • Step 4: Activation and Adjustment
    • After the palatal expander is installed, Dr. Bourne will provide instructions on how to activate and adjust the device.
    • Activation involves turning a screw or key in the expander to apply pressure to the palate gradually.
    • Patients or parents will be instructed on how to perform these adjustments at home according to the doctor’s recommendations.
  • Step 5: Monitoring and Follow-up
    • Throughout the treatment process, we will schedule regular follow-up appointments to monitor the progress of palatal expansion.
    • Adjustments may be made during these appointments to ensure the expansion is proceeding as planned and to address any issues or discomfort.
  • Step 6: Completion of Treatment
    • Once the desired expansion and alignment are achieved, the doctor will remove the palatal expander.
    • Depending on the individual’s treatment plan, additional orthodontic appliances such as braces or retainers may be recommended to maintain the results and ensure long-term stability.

‘‘Our family has been so impressed by Bourne! They helped us navigate our oldest getting braces, which meant answering a ton of our questions and what-ifs with knowledge and confidence. The staff is ridiculously friendly and approachable, the appointments are super quick and the kids always look forward to seeing what special the office will have during their visits.. ice cream? hot chocolate bar? I highly recommend Bourne Orthodontics!’’

Heidi R

‘‘Dr Bourne and his staff are amazing! My end results of two years in braces was great! Highly recommend them to anyone! Recently referred my aunt and little cousin to Bourne ortho and they are so far very pleased with Dr.B and the staff as well. 🙂’’

Chantel H

‘‘Bourne Orthodontics has the most caring and friendly staff! My daughter was a patient there for over two years, and every visit we felt welcome and everyone really takes time to make sure you have all the info and supplies needed. I highly recommend Bourne Orthodontics!’’

Danielle Lofstedt

‘‘I LOVE Dr. Bourne and all of his staff. My children have been patients there for 10+ years- from headgear, to a spacer to both needing braces. Everyone here is so friendly, and treats each patient with so much kindness. I refer everyone I know to Dr. Bourne for orthodontic needs, I believe they are the best of the best! I can’t give enough praise to their team.’’

Sasha Alexander

FAQ about Palatal Expanders
  • Is palatal expansion painful?

    While some patients may experience mild discomfort during the initial adjustment period, palatal expansion is generally not considered painful. Any discomfort typically subsides within a few days as the patient adjusts to the expander.

  • Can palatal expanders be used alongside other orthodontic treatments?

    Yes, palatal expanders can be used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances and treatments, such as braces or aligners. Your orthodontist will develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

  • Are there any dietary restrictions while wearing a palatal expander?

    While there are no strict dietary restrictions, it’s advisable to avoid hard, sticky, or excessively chewy foods that may damage the expander or cause discomfort. Your orthodontist will provide specific dietary guidelines based on your treatment plan.

  • Will my speech be affected while wearing a palatal expander?

    Some patients may experience temporary changes in speech patterns, such as lisping or difficulty pronouncing certain sounds, during the initial adjustment period. However, most individuals adapt quickly, and any speech difficulties typically resolve within a few days to a week.

  • Can palatal expanders be used for adults?

    While palatal expansion is most commonly performed during childhood and adolescence when the palate is still growing, it can also be effective in adults in certain cases. However, adult palatal expansion may require additional treatment modalities to achieve desired results.

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