What can a palatal expander do for you? It can help to straighten your teeth, thus improving your smile. You’ll want to show off a spectacular smile no doubt. So, if Dr. Hemphill recommends a palatal expander for you, here’s everything you need to know about it.
What if you don’t like your grin? If you’re a person underwhelmed by the way your teeth look, you might be disinclined to smile. If you have a narrow jaw, you may also suffer from crowded teeth or a crossbite. If you go too long without treatment, conditions like these can wear down your teeth, affecting your overall dental health.
To mend a narrow jaw, our team uses an instrument called a palatal expander. It widens a narrow jaw to permit teeth to reset into appropriate positions. Continue reading to find out how a palatal expander could help you!
When Would Someone Need a Palatal Expander?
Our team only recommends treatment options that a patient needs. Therefore, we will only suggest a palate expander if it will solve the problem. If Dr. Hemphill has determined that you need a palate expander, we begin by scanning your upper jaw. Think of it like a blueprint of your teeth – it allows us to see the smallest contours of your mouth. Everyone’s mouth is different, so we must tailor the palate expander to be a unique fit, just for you!
When Would Someone Need a Palatal Expander?
Our team only recommends treatment options that a client needs. Therefore, we will only suggest a palate expander if it will solve the problem. To determine who needs a palate expander, Dr. Hemphill begins by scanning your upper jaw. Think of it like a blueprint of your teeth – it allows us to see the smallest contours of your mouth. Everyone’s mouth is different. So, we must tailor the palate expander to be unique. Just like our clients!
What Is The Function of a Palatal Expander?
Ever had peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth? You’re ahead of the curve! Because you’re familiar with the “palate.” If the right and left sides of your palate taper too much, your teeth won’t have as much room to erupt and grow. The size of your palate must be proportional to the size of your teeth. And not only that, a wide palate compliments the symmetry of your face.
Should we determine that you need a palate expander, one of our team members will affix it to the top of your mouth. The expander exerts pressure on the palate through a key in the center of the device. Over time, the pressure eases the sides of the palate apart. As you wear the expander, the sides of your palate will gradually move into a more even, symmetrical position.
Different Kinds of Palatal Expanders
No two mouths are exactly the same, so our team rejects the “one size fits all” approach. That’s why we offer different options for palatal expanders. Some expanders can be taken out as needed. Others remain attached until Dr. Hemphill removes them. Each expander has its own advantages. Review the two options, and we’ll gladly discuss your questions.
Fixed Palate Expander
You may hear this option referred to as the rapid palate expander (RPE). It is composed of a system of bands fastened to the molars. The bands connect at the center, which lies at the roof of the mouth. A screw in the middle holds the entire device together. Remember the key we mentioned previously? We will provide you with the key, guide you on how often to turn the mechanism for expansion, and demonstrate how to use it.
Removable Palate Expander
What about less severe jaw abnormalities? For those that might not require the more permanent fixed expander, Dr. Hemphill might suggest a removable option. There are a couple of types of removable palate expander, some that resemble a retainer and some that resemble a clear aligner, each with a screw in the center. We prefer that clients wear these for twenty-two hours every day. With that said, removable expanders do not necessarily extend the duration of treatment.
What Issues Does The Palatal Expander Fix?
By now, you understand that the purpose of a palatal expander is to widen a narrow upper jaw. But you may be wondering about what advantages the expander provides. Other than beautifying a smile, how can a palatal expander benefit someone?
The most obvious benefit of palatal expanders is the elimination of malocclusion. Malocclusion refers to the misforming or misaligning of the teeth and/or jaw. Malocclusions can include:
- Open bite: the top and bottom teeth do not overlap correctly
- Crowded teeth: teeth are too close together, resulting in too little space
- Overbite: the top teeth reach too far below the bottom teeth
- Underbite: the lower jaw sets in front of the upper jaw when the mouth is closed
- Crossbite: parts of the lower and upper teeth intersect
What Happens If Someone Does Not Get Proper Treatment
If left untreated, an improperly shaped bite can lead to more problematic issues. Malocclusions can make it hard to chew food, creating a choking hazard. Furthermore, asymmetry in the jaw often leads to painful headaches. Those afflicted by malocclusion may have difficulty brushing and flossing their teeth. Consequently, they are more likely to develop plaque, cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Additionally, malocclusions can have negative psychological effects on adolescents.
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Malocclusions can have a variety of causes. These might include thumbsucking or using a pacifier for too long. Missing teeth, extra teeth, or uneven teeth can also contribute to malocclusions.
Now you understand that palatal expanders can alleviate some of the problems caused by a narrow upper jaw. You also know about the different kinds of palatal expanders and the advantages that each one offers. With that information at hand, you can count on Hemphill Orthodontics to deliver the treatment you deserve.
Need more info about palatal expanders? Come see us for all the answers you need!