There are a variety of preventative orthodontic care methods avaliable, tackling issues at the source proactively. Palatal expansion is one way to address orthodontic problems before they progress– meaning easier and more effective treatment for patients.
Give Your Smile Space
The main purpose of palatal expansion treatment is to widen the upper jaw. You may find that there is slight shifting of the teeth; however, the focus of the treatment reamains on the jaw. During treatment, the midpalatal suture is extended so that the two halves are pushed away from one another. This creates new bone in your palate, providing ideal space for teeth to erupt or undergo further orthodontic treatment. The prcocess of palatal expansion can take as little as a few months to a year or more.
Expanders can be an ideal treatment for both crowding and crossbites. The expansion of abnormally narrow arches at a young age can help prevent future impacted teeth or extraction procedures. As patients grow older, crossbites become more difficult to correct, making surgery the only viable option for some adults dealing with bite issues or excessive wear.
The Ideal Age for Treatment
The best time to begin palatal expansion is while a patient is still young and growing. Adults can still benefit from expansion; however, there may be additional surgery or TADs needed to complete treatment.
What to Expect
A small key is used to turn your palatal expander. Your orthodontist will give you this key alongside directions on how and when to perform your turns. Each of these turns broadens the expander, and by extension the midpalatal suture (growth plate). Gradually, your palate will expand and you will start to see a space emerging between your front teeth. This is a sign that the expander is doing its job, and the space will close after turning is complete with the aid of braces. It may take you several days to adjust to the expander; you might experience slight headaches or extra saliva at the beginning of your treatment, which is normal.
Caring for Your Expander
It’s important to turn your palatal expander as directed by your orthodontist. Keep your expander clean by brushing it when you brush your teeth, or swishing water to remove stuck food particles. Removable palatal expanders should be brushed and rinsed after every removal.
Have more questions about palatal expanders and how they work? These video resources will provide more details of palatal expansion treatment.
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