LAST UPDATED: December 31, 2018
The benefit of having a specialist in orthodontics from childhood is that the growth of teeth are monitored and treatment is carried out immediately if necessary. In this article, we look at palatal expanders and how to avoid the removal of teeth.
A palatal expander is used by the orthodontist to widen the upper jaw in order to allow more space for the upper and lower sets of teeth to fit. The use of an orthodontic expander is usually followed by braces in order to straighten the teeth. This process usually results in a gap forming between the first two teeth; the gap will close eventually, and the teeth may overlap hence the use of the braces. Patients experience a slight pressure on their teeth whenever the screw is first turned to tighten up the expander. Patients may take up to a week to adjust to talking and also eating.
What Are The Benefits of a Palatal Expander?
There are many benefits to the use of a palatal expander. First of all, it may be used in order to improve the patient’s overall smile. It can also correct cross-bite and overlapping teeth through expansion of the upper jaw. Palatal expanders are usually custom made to fit a specific patient’s teeth, to activate the palatal expander, there is a small screw at the side that would be used to fasten the springs and wires around the teeth to either bring them closer together or straighten them out. Once the desired adjustment is made, the expander is left in place for a few months until there has been new bone growth to fill the extra space made and stable the expansion.
What Need Palatal Expanders?
There are three situations that call for the use of palatal expanders:
- Crossbites – This is when the upper jaw of a young child meets the inside of the lower jaw instead of the outside.
- Crowding – It is easy to tell in a young child before their permanent set of teeth are in that the mouth isn’t spacious enough. Widening of the upper jaw instead of tooth extraction is possible.
- Impacted teeth – This is when the teeth have not yet erupted and they are blocked by other teeth; widening the upper jaw would help the teeth grow into position.
What to Expect with Palatal Expanders?
Patients usually experience pain and slight headaches when the screw is first turned and they may also feel their tongue is a little bit sore from being in contact with the metal bars. Patients have reported that after removing the expander their mouth feels big and quite spacious, the expander stays in the mouth of a patient for about 10 weeks though this may vary from one patient to another. It is important to also note that a palatal expander cannot be used on the lower jaw bone through an instrument known as the bionator would serve the purpose.
When can Palatal Expanders Not be Used?
Here are some of the reasons why a palatal expander cannot be used on the lower teeth. First, it needs to be understood that sutures in younger children are stretchable and moveable compared to adults where they have grown together over time. The growth plate allows fitting the expansion screw in order to gently separate the two halves of the suture. The main problem with using a palatal expander on the lower teeth is simply that it lacks the growth palate. Expansion in the lower jaw must be limited to movement purposes.
Although some of the other common reasons would be for correcting teeth and also flaring. These are the main two techniques that would solve the problem of overcrowding teeth, which usually occurs in the lower jaw. Unfortunately, there has only been success in attempting one type of expansion and that is for tipping the teeth; which is also applicable in the upper arch.
The best way to correct teeth in the lower jaw bone is through the use of braces. The expansion is mainly a result of wires pushing the teeth apart. Science has determined that tipping or extraction is not necessary for correction in the lower jaw bone. There are a set of factors that your orthodontist will consider to determine the type of procedure that would work the best for your situation. The main factor to consider is the structure of your jaw bone. There are plenty of ways to expand and straighten your teeth to leave you with that perfect smile you will be happy with.
The braces patients wear move the teeth because the wires and springs push the teeth apart. Tipping is the most preferred option among orthodontists. This method is the most popular the residents have the pleasure of being treated by. Through the growth of technology in the field of dentistry, there is also 3D imaging. Where the bones are scanned determining the thickness and height of the teeth. This data helps the orthodontist to know what the expected results of any treatment option would be.
Schedule an Appointment
Dr. Joel Gluck, at Gluck Orthodontics, is the right person to see if you are looking for one of the skilled orthodontists Nashville resident’s use. Gluck Orthodontics believe that a successful medical practice does not just happen; it requires patience and the undying support from patients who are treated well.
Dr. Joel Gluck is on the list of board-certified Orthodontists in Nashville, Tennessee who combines advanced education and care to offer the finest quality and most reliable treatment. His office is currently located in Green Hills. Not only is he one of the orthodontists whose office is comfortable and welcoming, but it is also fun. So all of the young patients look forward to the contests and presents offered. He provides treatment and diagnosis to each individual patient, and he has helped set the standard in the type of braces Nashville residents expect. Click below to schedule your appointment.
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Can Palatal Expanders Be Used? (to Avoid Extractions)