Palatal Expanders

Bloomington Palatal Expanders 

What Is a Palatal Expander?

A palatal expander is an orthodontic appliance that widens the upper jaw (maxilla), creating more space in the mouth. The expander works by applying gentle pressure on the upper palate, gradually separating the two halves of the maxilla. Although this might sound scary and painful, it is a safe and tolerable process with numerous benefits.  

This page features details about palatal expanders and how we use them at Sugar Creek Orthodontics. Check out the information below for answers to your questions. You can also call our office anytime. We offer free consultations and are always happy to talk about our varied services. See why we are a trusted orthodontist for palatal expanders in Bloomington. 

When to Get a Palatal Expander

Palatal expanders are solutions to common orthodontic issues, including but not limited to:

  • Crossbites: This is when the jaw is too narrow to fit correctly with the lower jaw. As a result, the top teeth will bite inside the lower teeth instead of outside. Expanding the upper jaw can correct this issue.
  • Crowding: Children’s jaws sometimes lack space to accommodate permanent teeth. A palatal expander can easily solve this problem by creating room and eliminating the need for tooth extractions.
  • Impacted teethAt times, children’s permanent teeth are unable to come in (erupt) because existing teeth are blocking them. In these cases, a palatal expander can widen the jaw, allowing teeth to erupt into the proper position.

Palatal expanders have additional applications beyond what we listed above. They can improve confidence by broadening smiles. They can also mitigate breathing issues and even shorten the time children need to wear braces

How Expanders Work

At Sugar Creek Orthodontics, we custom-make palatal expanders. The individual expanders generally fit over several top teeth in the back of the mouth and feature two halves connected by a screw. To activate the device, we simply turn the screw a very small amount with a special key. This puts tension at the junction of the two palatal bones, causing them to gradually move apart. Once the bones have separated far enough, we leave the appliance in place to allow new bone to form in the gap and stabilize the expansion. Patients typically wear an expander for three to six months.

Age and Palatal Expanders

Adults and children can benefit from palatal expanders. However, these orthodontic appliances are especially advantageous for children. This is because palatal expanders can treat malocclusions (“bad bites”) while a child is still growing and prevent them from dealing with orthodontic complications later in life. 

To schedule yours call (217) 769-8089 or submit our online contact form. Our office serves Bloomington, Lincoln, Normal, and the nearby areas.

What to Expect from a Palatal Expander

It is not uncommon for people to experience soreness or a feeling of pressure for a few minutes after turning the expander’s key. However, many past patients have noted that an expander causes less discomfort than having braces tightened. 

Speaking and eating may feel different with the appliance, but most adjust quickly. It is also normal to see a gap develop between the front teeth. This is often a byproduct of the expander working properly. 

When all is said and done, palatal expanders beautifully align teeth with neither too much nor too little space between them. 

Benefits of Palatal Expanders 

Palatal expanders offer several benefits for orthodontic treatment:

  • Correcting Crowding: Palatal expanders gradually widen the upper jaw, creating more space for crowded teeth to align properly, reducing the need for tooth extraction.
  • Improved Bite: By expanding the upper jaw, palatal expanders can help correct crossbites, overbites, and underbites, improving the overall bite alignment and function.
  • Enhancing Breathing: Palatal expanders can alleviate issues related to narrow airways and improve breathing, particularly in cases of obstructive sleep apnea or mouth breathing.
  • Addressing Speech Impediments: Palatal expanders can help resolve speech difficulties caused by narrow palates, leading to clearer speech and improved communication.
  • Preventing TMJ Disorders: By properly aligning the upper and lower jaws, palatal expanders can reduce the risk of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and associated symptoms like jaw pain and headaches.

Overall, palatal expanders offer a non-invasive and effective way to address various orthodontic issues, leading to improved dental health and overall well-being. 

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