What Are Palatal Expanders?
Palatal expanders are an early phase orthodontic treatment that help to widen the upper arch to allow for ideal jaw alignment and proper tooth eruption in children and adolescent patients. These appliances attach to the upper arch inside of the mouth to gradually move the bone and cartilage outward and enable the upper teeth to fit properly over the lower teeth when a patient bites down. By incorporating a palatal expander into the initial phase of orthodontic treatment to treat a high palatal vault or narrow upper arch, our team at Grove Dental Group and Orthodontics can prevent the need for more invasive types of care. For more information on the benefits of upper arch expanders and whether your child might benefit from this orthodontic appliance, schedule a visit at our Wyomissing or Reading, PA practice location to reserve your consultation.
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Ideal Candidates for Orthodontic Expanders
A palatal expander may be recommended for children who have a high palatal vault, a narrow upper arch, or a crossbite (bottom teeth overlap the top teeth). When the upper jaw is too narrow, a number of functional issues may result, including the improper eruption of adult teeth and crowding. As a result, oral function and biting capabilities may be affected, leading to discomfort and other jaw concerns. Our team may recommend placing a palatal expander at an early age while the jaw bones and cartilage can still be expanded with greater ease. Since wearing this type of appliance improves how the upper and lower teeth fit together, it can reduce future orthodontic concerns. It can also minimize the risk of cavities and gum disease by facilitating proper tooth eruption, allowing the teeth to be more easily maintained with daily oral hygiene.
How Are Upper Arch Expanders Placed?
Upper jaw expanders can be secured in place or fabricated as removable appliances. Fixed expanders are typically attached to a set of orthodontic bands that fit over and are bonded to the molar teeth. These appliances are generally comprised of metal coils, smooth wires, resin, or additional components and stretch across the arch, near the roof of the mouth. In certain cases, patients may need to adjust their palatal expander with a small key that fits into the appliance. Turning this key each day will help facilitate the gradual expansion of the palatal bones and upper arch. To customize a palatal expander, our team will take impressions of the mouth and send these off to our partner lab. We will have you bring your child in a few weeks later so that we may place their appliance and review instructions on how to use and care for their device.
Caring for Orthodontic Appliances
Due to the position and components of an orthodontic expander, is may be more likely to collect plaque and food debris. Keeping up with a good oral hygiene routine at home is imperative to your child's treatment and overall oral health. Our team will offer tips on how to best care for your child's mouth during this time. In general, palatal expanders are typically worn for around six months; however, treatment time is always based on individual needs. It is common to have a small space between the upper front teeth develop while wearing an expander. This spacing is normal and can be addressed further along in the orthodontic process. We encourage you to bring your child to Grove Dental Group and Orthodontics for routine dental cleaning and check-up visits so that our team can evaluate your child's oral health and treatment progress.
Insurance Coverage for Orthodontics
Treatment for palatal expansion may be included under your dental insurance plan. After your child's initial consultation, our treatment coordinator will review your plan's specifics and let you know of estimated coverage and personal costs. At Grove Dental Group and Orthodontics, our caring team wants all patients to have access to high-quality services and is pleased to accept a number of convenient payment solutions, including interest-free financing through CareCredit and Wells Fargo.
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Care From a Trusted Orthodontic Team
Providing the personalized orthodontic treatment your family needs is important to our team of trusted specialists. Palatal expanders may be an integral step in the early phase of orthodontic treatment to facilitate proper bite alignment and ensure better overall oral function. If you are seeking orthodontic treatment in the Wyomissing or Reading, PA area and think your child might benefit from upper jaw expansion, we invite you to contact our practice and schedule a visit with our friendly orthodontists.