At the pediatric dental office of The Super Dentists with locations in Chula Vista, Oceanside and Eastlake, in San Diego County, we offer a variety of dental treatments and procedures to fit our patients' needs. While treatments like sealants and fillings are very popular, some of our young patients require palatal expanders.
What is a palatal expander?
A palatal expander is a fixed orthodontic appliance used to widen the upper jaw so that the bottom and upper teeth will fit together better. The upper jawbone, or maxillae, is made up of two bones connected by a suture in the middle. This suture does not close until the early teenage years. The use of a palatal expander is most common in children. Palatal expanders can be used to correct the following conditions:
- Teeth crowding
- Arch constriction
How do palatal expanders work?
Palatal expanders are secured to the roof of the patient's mouth, and often times must be turned once a day by a parent for a prescribed amount of turns. During this process, a gap will open between the two front teeth and the suture between the two jawbones is widened. Rest assured, this gap will close by itself as soon as the expansion is completed. After expansion, the expander must stay in place for 6 months in order for the upper jaw bones to grow back together and form a new suture.
Instructions For Turning The Expander
If you are a parent who is respsonsible for turning your child's palatal expander, please follow these instructions from our dentist:
- Find a place in the house that is comfortable, where your child can lie on their back with their head tilted backward, looking up toward the ceiling.
- Sitting along side them, have them open their mouth.
- Insert the key into the hole in the expander.
- Turn the key toward the back of their throat. Be sure to turn the key all the way so that you will be able to properly fit the key in the next hole.
- To complete the turn, remove the key straight down. Make that this is straight down to avoid reversing the turn.
Palatal expander Video
If you think your child may be a candidate for a palatal expander, please contact one of our San Diego County office locations to schedule a consultation. We look forward to serving your family with exceptional dental care!