As children lose their baby teeth, their larger adult teeth will try to move into position. Often, this movement results in severe overcrowding and a crooked appearance. Fortunately, help is on the way at King Orthodontics. With the use of a palatal expander, many children can avoid this overcrowding scenario before it occurs.
At King Orthodontics, we custom make a device called the palatal expander and attach it to your child’s upper jaw. It fits over several top teeth in the back of the mouth. The palatal expander is made up of two halves that are connected in the center with a screw. Each night we ask parents (or the child) to turn the screw one rotation using a special key we provide.
Over the course of several months, this technique widens your child’s palette to make room for the larger adult teeth to come in. It’s such a gradual process that your child will not feel any discomfort. Only a slight, temporary pressure will occur when the key is turned.
Often the best candidates for an expander are children who have small mouths with narrow palettes caused by hereditary factors or finger sucking. Another sign we look for in deciding on this form of treatment is the child’s bite. It’s important to achieve a proper bite and the sooner the better.
Early detection and correction is the key. By detecting the potential for overcrowding early on, and correcting it with an expander, the need for braces later is minimized.
For example, sometimes the existing teeth are blocking those that need to erupt. With the expander in place, we create room for those permanent teeth to move into their natural position.
Children are the perfect candidates for expanders because their upper jaw is still developing. Until puberty, the upper jaw is two separate halves that haven’t yet fused completely together. We separate and stabilize the two bones over the course of several months.
To ensure that your child enjoys the best possible dental health, get a jump start on their treatment plan today. Sometimes no treatment is needed, but in the case that they could benefit from expansion or bite correction, we’re here to help.
To reiterate, not only can an expander solve the problem of space in your child’s mouth, but it can also correct misaligned teeth and bite problems that lead to other issues. Early prevention and treatment are important, especially while your child’s jaw is still growing.
If you have any questions about palatal expanders, please contact us at King Orthodontics. We’re always happy to answer your questions!