Palatal expanders helps to widen the upper jaw and create more space to align the teeth. An expander works by gently separating and stabilizing 2 halves of the upper jaw which are joined together by a suture which does not fuse until around puberty. Expanders are most commonly prescribed to treat cross-bite, crowding or impacted teeth. Expanders have also been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of sleep apnea in children. Children who have difficulty staying asleep (sleep walking/talking), snoring or bed-wetting should be evaluated for orthodontic treatment.
After the delivery of an expander, your child may find that speaking and eating feels different at first as the tongue adjusts to the presence of the appliance. While turning the expander, it is normal to see a gap develop between your child’s front teeth. Some minor discomfort in the teeth and/or surrounding gums may be experienced while an expander is used. This discomfort usually dissipates over the course of 5-7 days.
After your free consultation and evaluation at our office, Dr Chong will determine if an expander is right for your child. A digital scan will be taken of your child’s teeth in our office. This process takes approximately 5 minutes. An expander is then custom-made for your child from the digital scan and as prescribed by Dr Chong. Expanders have two halves that are connected in the middle with a miniature screw. Dr Chong and her team will instruct you on activating the device daily and for a specific duration. Each activation turn creates tension at the junction of two halves of the upper jaw, causing them to gradually move apart. Once the desired expansion has been achieved, the expander usually remains in the mouth for approximately 3-6 months.