A palatal expander is a metal oral device designed to gradually widen the upper jaw and create more space between the teeth. The device uses gentle pressure to push the two halves of the maxillary jaw apart over a three-to-six-month period.
Ideally, maxillary expansion occurs before puberty, but it’s also often possible in adulthood. During childhood, this process happens much easier since the two halves of the maxillary jaw don’t fuse until around age 12.
The treatment process begins with the placement of the expander. The device sits at the roof of your mouth and fits over several teeth to temporarily anchor it in place. Once it’s in the correct position, your orthodontist will gently increase the tension to begin treatment.
You’ll need to return for regular visits to have the tension gradually increased. After your upper jaw reaches its ideal width, you’ll need to wear the expander for at least a couple more months to allow new bone to form.
Reasons You May Need Maxillary Expansion
The most common reasons orthodontists use palatal expanders include:
- Overcrowding: Maxillary expansion helps create room for all your teeth, streamlining the process of transforming your smile with braces.
- Impaction: Expanding the upper jaw can help open up space for an impacted tooth to come through the gums in the proper position without any additional help.
- Crossbite: Palatal expanders widen the narrow upper jaw to better align with the lower jaw and eliminate crossbites.
By performing maxillary expansion, you can achieve your smile goals without having multiple teeth removed. Widening your upper jaw can also minimize your orthodontic treatment time, so you can enjoy much faster results whether you get Invisalign clear aligners or traditional braces.
Call to Schedule Your Orthodontics Visit
Are you ready to speak with an orthodontist at Richards & Associates Orthodontics about transforming your smile? If so, call us at 239-936-1808 to reach our Fort Myers team. Or dial 239-458-2002 to book your visit at our Cape Coral clinic.