Not everyone needs a palatal expander. They are usually for people that have a narrow palate. This is due to skeletal issues. A palatial expander is necessary in these cases so that you can have a correct bite. You will need to have this either with braces or before braces. Braces will fix your teeth and the palate expander will fix your jawbone.

If you need a palatal expander, you might be confused and you might have many questions. Many people get palatal expanders. They’re nothing to be concerned about. You should still get all the answers to your questions that you need before getting one though.

Who Needs a Palate Expander?

Many people will need a palate expander depending on their mouth and dental issues. Palate expanders are mostly needed if you have one of the following:

  • Crowded teeth
  • A misaligned bite like an overbite, underbite, open bite, or crossbite
  • Difficult chewing
  • Impacted teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Overlapping teeth

A palate expander is meant to widen your jaw. It makes more space for your teeth so that your upper and lower teeth can fit together. This allows you to eat better and have less jaw pain.

Expanding your palate can also make breathing better especially in those that might have sleep apnea.

The palate expander will work by widening the upper jaw. It will fit snuggly into your jaw and gradually move the halves of the jawbone apart. Most people that have palate expanders are children, but they are beneficial in adults too who need help with their jaws being widened.

What Age are Palate Expanders Most Common?

People of any age can have palate expanders. They usually are easier in children though since the jaw bones can shift easier since they are still growing. Children will often see more success with palate expanders.

Palate expanders are most common in children starting at 7 years old. When the bones are moved earlier on, invasive procedures later in life are hardly needed. Children also only need expanders for about 3 months, while adults may need them for a year or longer.

What Kind of Palatal Expander Do I Need?

Your orthodontist will be able to look at your or your children’s mouth and determine if they need a palatal expander.

They will also be able to tell you what kind of expander you need as there are many different types including removal, rapid palatal expander, surgically assisted, and implant supported.

Removable

These look similar to retainers. They are made from chrome. If you only need to widen your law a little, a removable one is best so you can wear it for a few hours a day and then take it out when you are eating.

Rapid

This fits inside the roof of your mouth and attaches to the upper teeth. There is a tiny screw in the middle. You will need to turn it in every day with a palate expander key that the doctor will give you. Your child will usually need help with this, so you will need to do it for them.

Over time, the tension made from the key will move the two palatal bones apart and widen the jaw little by little. Your jaw will move about 0.5 mm a day. Most people need to wear these for 3 to 6 Korean before the needed results are achieved.

Surgically Assisted

These are usually only needed for severe cases. So adults need them since their facial bones are already developed and they cannot be moved easily. The doctor will put these in where the left and right sides of the palate meet. They will attach to your upper teeth.

You will use a key to move it and expand it little by little every day. You will do this for several months until your jaw has widened enough.

Implant Supported

These are most commonly used in older teens and adults. This palate is different as the force is applied to mini dental implants rather than the teeth themselves. This allows the healthcare provider directly to the upper jaw.

Dental implants will need to be out first so your doctor will work with a periodontist or an oral surgeon to get them in the right place.

Are Palate Expanders Painful?

A palatal expander will cause minor discomfort for a few days. When the key is turned, you will also have some discomfort for a few hours. You can reduce the discomfort by taking over-the-counter medications. If you are experiencing extreme pain or discomfort lasting mot than a few days, talk to your doctor. They may have you come into the office to check everyone is in the right position.

The Advantages of Palate Expanders

When used correctly, palate expanders have many benefits including:

  • Corrects a wide range of dental issues especially crowding and misalignment
  • Reduces the need for oral surgery when put in early in children
  • It can be worn at the same time as braces or headgear if needed

Do Palate Expanders have Risks?

There are not many risks or complications for palate expanders. However, adults will need to wear them for more time. It takes longer for adult bones to move because they are fully formed. It can also take a few days or weeks to get used to something new in your mouth.

You might experience pain, headaches, drooling, and lisping. All these things should go away within a few weeks though.

You might experience anterior teeth spacing but this can be easily fixed with braces. Ford and debris can also get inside the expander. This can cause a bad taste or smell in the mouth. You can prevent this by cleaning the palate.

Final Thoughts

A palate expander is a common orthodontic device that is worn by kids and adults. It works by gradually expanding the jaw bones of the mouth to widen them. You can then get braces or other devices to fix the teeth for a beautiful smile.