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Tag: crossbite

Orthodontist Answers to Palatal Expanders FAQs

If your child’s upper palate is too small for developing permanent teeth, the orthodontist may suggest wearing a palatal expander. This device is attached to the upper palate and applies pressure to the developing bone. Over a few months, the palatal expander will inspire the bone to grow wider, creating sufficient space for incoming teeth to align beautifully.

At Harmony Orthodontics in Tomball, TX, Dr. Wint Tun and our team provide a five-star orthodontic experience to children and adults. If you’ve received an orthodontic referral from your general dentist or want to schedule a complimentary orthodontic consultation with Dr. Tun, call us at 832-699-3683 today. 

Why does a child need a palatal expander?

Patients diagnosed with crossbite, crowding, impaction, or breathing issues may need a palatal expander. 

How does a palatal expander work?

In the center of the expander, a small screw determines the lateral pressure. The parent or patient uses a small key to adjust the expander at home. 

How often does the expander need adjustment?

Dr. Tun will inform you of the best schedule for adjusting the expander. Usually, treatment involves turning the key once or twice a day. At your orthodontist appointments, Dr. Tun will monitor treatment progress and let you know when it’s time to remove the appliance.

Is a palatal expander painful?

Initially, the patient will feel some discomfort due to the pressure the expander exerts. Also, speech may be temporarily affected until the patient adjusts to wearing the expander. With time, the patient’s mouth and tongue will become accustomed to the expander. Take age-appropriate over-the-counter NSAIDs as per the instructions for pain relief. 

Are palatal expanders for kids only, or also for adults?

Children’s bones are more apt to respond well to a palatal expander since they’re still growing. If we advise an adult patient to wear a palatal expander, expect slower treatment and longer treatment time. In rare cases, an adult may need surgical intervention to widen the upper palate.

Are there any dietary restrictions while wearing an expander?

Yes. Dietary restrictions with an expander are the same as with braces. Avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods; don’t chew gum; and avoid eating popcorn. At your appointment, Dr. Tun can provide a complete list of dietary restrictions.

How should a palatable expander be cleaned?

When brushing and flossing, clean on and around the expander.  After brushing and flossing, rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to thoroughly clean your mouth and expander. If the appliance is damaged, call us to schedule a visit so that we can repair the device.

What will happen after the orthodontist removes the expander?

In most cases, a patient will wear braces or a retainer after we remove the palatal expander. The goal is for permanent teeth to align properly for esthetics and a healthy bite.

What potential risks and complications come with this treatment?

An expander can irritate gums and teeth, though some discomfort is normal. Attend scheduled appointments so that Dr. Tun can make sure your teeth and gums remain healthy during treatment. 

How can I find out if a palatal expander is right for me or my child?

Your child is between six and ten years old, your pediatric or family dentist may recommend an orthodontic consultation. Alternatively, you may want your child to undergo an orthodontic exam and consultation. Harmony Orthodontics offers a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, so call us today at 832-699-3683 or book your appointment online. Located in Tomball, we serve patients in The Woodlands, Spring, and surrounding communities.