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Palatal Expander

What Is A Palatal Expander?

Orthodontics is a dental specialty involving the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of malpositioned teeth.

Orthodontic treatment is suitable for people suffering from overbite, underbite, open bite, or crossbite.

Individuals who experience problems with the spacing of their teeth that results in crowding are also candidates for orthodontic treatments.

Aside from straightening the teeth, orthodontic treatment prevents tooth loss due to decay and periodontal diseases. After all, crooked and malpositioned teeth are harder to clean.

Orthodontic treatments address additional stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches; TMJ syndrome; and pains in the neck, shoulder, and back.

Orthodontic treatments can include both fixed and removable appliances, such as dental braces and aligners.

Palatal Expander And Your Orthodontic Treatment

Another important device in orthodontics is the palatal expander. This device can prevent, reduce, or correct jaw problems. Thus, it can leave room for the growth of the teeth. The device widens the upper jaw or the maxilla for the upper and bottom teeth to better fit together.

A palatal expander treats dental conditions like posterior crossbite teeth crowding, impacted teeth, and breathing problems. It stretches the cartilage and bone of the palate which can take several weeks to months.

The device is traditionally attached to the molars with metal rings. However, it can be removable in some cases. It can initially feel bulky and uncomfortable. The patient may also speak differently in the first few days of the expansion process. Slurping may be occur as the mouth creates more saliva due to the cementation of the expander.

A gap between the upper central incisors indicates that the palatal expander is working towards the desired effect as the device pushes the two halves of the palate in opposite directions.

After halting the activation of the expander, the gap created may spontaneously close. This is because the fibers in the surrounding gums are pulling the teeth to their original positions. Although, the underlying bone remains to be expanded. The front teeth may also feel a bit loose and sore during this process.

The use of a palatal expander is most common in children. As permanent teeth replace baby teeth, children’s jaws may not be big enough to accommodate the set of adult teeth. Palatal expanders are also useful in some adults.

Aside from palatal expanders, there are also lower jaw expanders designed to move the teeth by erecting the teeth that are tipped inward. Unlike palatal expanders, lower jaw expanders does not have a suture to close. Therefore, they cannot expand the bone. Instead, lower jaw expanders merely move teeth.

An expansion process usually follows an orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth like dental braces or aligners.

Regardless of the treatment subscribed, the practice of basic oral hygiene remains to be the most essential in keeping our oral health in check. Ensure that you brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash. This routine is especially vital while undergoing orthodontic treatment for healthier teeth.

Consult your dentist or orthodontist for the best treatment for your dental concerns.

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