The roof of your mouth is called the palate. If a palate is too narrow, issues with the bite, alignment, or even breathing can result. A palate expander is very common treatment option to correct several issues and conditions that result from a narrow palate, such as
- Teeth biting inside the lower back teeth
- Teeth are too close together
- Impaction caused by tooth crowding
- Breathing difficulties from a high palate and narrow arch
How does a palatal expander work?
The palate and the upper arch (called the maxilla) come together to form a midline suture after puberty but are not connected during childhood. Pediatric patients are the ideal candidates for palatal expansion because these two bones have not yet fused together. A palatal expander works by utilizing a customized appliance to widen the maxilla.
First, the palatal expander device is attached to the upper molars. A specialized key is used to adjust the device and slowly expand the palate. This constant but gentle pressure in opposing directions stimulates growth at the midline suture. Your orthodontist will determine the frequency of the turns before treatment — most patients adjust their device once or twice a day. During treatment, a gap may develop between the two front teeth as the palate expands. Most of the time, the gap will close on its own, but braces may also be used to correct the spacing.
Although the palate is usually expanded within two to three weeks, the appliance needs to be worn for several months more to secure the new expansion.
Palatal Expander at Smile Appeal Orthodontics
We encourage you to contact our office to discuss your orthodontic needs. Please contact our practice at either of our locations in North Oklahoma City or South Oklahoma City. We look forward to seeing you in our practice and helping you achieve your best smile.