A palatal expander is a type of orthodontic appliance that is used to widen the upper jaw (maxilla) in order to create more space for the teeth. It is typically used in children who have a narrow upper jaw, or a condition called crossbite, in which the upper and lower teeth do not align properly.
A palatal expander consists of a metal or plastic device that is bonded to the molars on the upper jaw. It has a central screw that can be turned by the orthodontist or the patient (using a special key) in order to gradually widen the upper jaw. The expander applies gentle pressure to the molars, causing the bone to gradually widen and create more space for the teeth.
Palatal expanders are typically worn for several months, and they are adjusted by the orthodontist or the patient on a regular basis to ensure that the treatment is progressing as planned. They are generally well tolerated by patients, although they may cause some discomfort or difficulty speaking or eating in the beginning. Despite these potential side effects, palatal expanders are an effective treatment for a narrow upper jaw and can help improve the overall alignment of the teeth and jaw.
If you are considering palatal expanders as a treatment option, it is important to consult with an orthodontist to determine if it’s the best option for your specific dental needs and concerns. Dr. Christensen will be able to assess your mouth and teeth and recommend the best course of treatment for you.