Create a better bite
A dental expander (also called a palatal expander) is an appliance that slowly expands the upper or lower palate to create more room for crowded teeth. The purpose of the expander is to have a wider arch in order to accommodate all the teeth without crowding or having to remove any teeth. It is used to create a properly functioning bite - a bite where the top teeth and the bottom teeth fit together properly. Many children have been treated with expanders and have achieved beautiful results.
A wider arch in as little as 9 months
The expander, which is made of metal and plastic, is put in place by the orthodontist and is not removable. Metal bands are placed around four molars to anchor the adjustable device, which sits behind the teeth. Each day the patient or parent, uses a small tool (a “key”) to widen the expander just a bit. This slowly forces the bones of the dental arch outward. Treatment time is usually about 9 months.
Easy to clean
It’s important to keep your expander clean because it’s easy for food to get stuck in it. To keep it clean, simply swish water in your mouth after eating or after drinking something sugary and brush the expander each time you brush your teeth.
Temporary side effects
Some patients find it difficult to speak clearly when they first have their expanders put in. Your body may also produce more saliva at first because your mouth thinks the expander is food and is trying to break it down. Both the slurred speech and the extra saliva should be resolved within a few weeks.
After being treated with an expander, many patients find the results are stunning. There is now room for all teeth (including adult teeth that will erupt in the future), and the bite is beautifully aligned.