Palatal Expanders

by maria | Last Updated: September 24, 2020

What is Palatal Exapander?

Rapid-Palatal-Expander-illustration

If your kid has bite-related teeth alignment issues, then palatal expander is one of the most effective orthodontic devices to get correct deformity. The treatment involves a device to widen the palate (roof of the mouth) and create space for the natural growth of teeth over time. Since expansion happens only in growing age, palate expander is an effective treatment only for your growing children. Optimum spacing ensures that your kid won’t develop crowded teeth, misalignment, and bad bites.

Types of Palatal Expanders

Everyone has a unique dental and oral structure. Palatal expanders are designed uniquely according to an individual’s palate size and dental arch. Depending on your preference, it could be either fixed or made removable. Here are some common types of palatal expanders used for orthodontic treatment:

Rapid Palatal Expander

Depending on your dental misalignment challenges, your orthodontist might use a rapid palatal expander to achieve quick maxilla widening and dental arch expansion goals. The device is placed on a few back teeth in the upper jaw using a screw. One can get 0.5 mm upper jaw expansion average daily by turning the screw each day using a unique key. Depending on progress, your orthodontist might suggest a slow expansion of 0.2 mm per week. Usually, RPE treatment takes 3 to 6 months, but your orthodontist might suggest wearing for more time until the new bone forms as per new spacing.

Removable Palatal Expander

If orthodontic complexity is of moderate level, your orthodontist might suggest a removable palatal expander to correct crowding and bad bites. Minor jaw expansion is possible using a removable expander, which looks more like acrylic retainers.

Implant-Supported Expansion

If your jaws have matured, then orthodontists suggest implant-supported expander to create high-tension to achieve desired jaw expansion results. The device consists of four mini-implants, which are placed directly on the maxillary bone. Depending on the growth of your jaw bone, your orthodontist might suggest the insertion of palatal expander into palate bone surgically.

Palate Expansion is Suitable For

Misalignment of teeth and crossbite happens due to narrowness palatal spacing. Earlier, dentists used to remove a few teeth to create space for normal dental growth. But now orthodontists avoid extraction of mature teeth and use suitable palatal expansion devices to create required space. This treatment is suitable for:

Impacted Teeth: If your tooth is stuck under the gum due to blockage created by other teeth, this is called an impacted teeth. You can correct this spacing issue without the painful tooth extraction procedure using the palate expander. In just 2-3 months, your palate will expand and create space for normal dental growth.

Crossbite: If your lower and upper teeth do not align correctly while biting, you can correct crossbite using the palatal expander. Since crossbite happens because of space-shortage related random teeth growth, it could be corrected using a rapid palatal expander.

Teeth Crowding: If the extraction of primary teeth is not done in time then it might tighten again and create a blockage for permanent teeth growth. Your orthodontist will examine palate size and jawline, and suggest suitable palatal expander to create optimum space for permanent teeth.

Besides these common teeth misalignment challenges, palatal expanders are used for treating mouth-breathing, under-bite, and maxillary transverse deficiencies like paranasal hollowing, narrow nasal base.

The palatal expander is a highly effective orthodontic treatment, but like other treatments, this could cause some discomfort in the early days. Patients complain about the difficulty in chewing, speaking, and excessive saliva generation. So, it is a perfectly safe and easy way to correct teeth misalignments and have a lifelong healthy smile.

Maria Giovanisci is an enterprising dentist from London. Maria graduated from the University of Murcia and began her professional career in her own dental clinic before, she decided to embark on a joint project with her two colleagues. Aside from contributing on this blog, she also works in the public health sector at the new Torrevieja Hospital.