If you are considering having a palate expander put in, you likely have many questions. How long will it stay in your mouth? What is the procedure like? Is it painful? This blog post will answer ‘how long do palate expanders stay in?’ and give you a detailed overview of what to expect during and after the procedure. Keep reading to learn more!
- Palatal Expansion: What for?
- What is a Palatal Expander?
- How do Expanders Work?
- Types of Palatal Expanders
- Side Effects of Palatal Expanders
- How long do you typically need to wear a palate extender?
- Caring for your Palatal Expander
Palatal Expansion: What for?
The expander is a type of orthodontic treatment that widens the upper jaw (maxilla) so that the lower jaw and top teeth may fit together more comfortably. This is a typical orthodontic treatment. The use of an expander is most frequent among children and adolescents, although it may also be used in adults.
A patient who would rather not wait several months for the result by a palatal expander may be able to opt for surgical separation of the maxilla. The use of an orthodontic expander is most often followed by braces to give space to crowded teeth then and straighten the teeth.
What is a Palatal Expander?
Palate expanders are oral devices used to remedy several common dental conditions. They’re also called palatal expanders or orthodontic expanders.
These devices are most commonly used in pre-adolescent children but can also be used in teens and adults. If your child has a crossbite or narrow upper jaw, a dentist may recommend using a palate expander to correct it.
How does the Palatal Expander Treatment Work?
Palate expanders are used to slowly expand the roof of the mouth for upper jaw expansion. Palate expanders are composed of two halves that are fastened to the top back molars on both sides of the jaw. A screw is typically used to join the halves together, situated high in the center of the mouth. You’ll be given a key to rotate the screw on a set timetable. This maintains pressure on both sides of the jawbone, forcing them to spread and separate. Palate expanders are custom-made. The orthodontist will take an impression of the upper jaw and teeth. This impression will be sent to a laboratory to make an expander that fits perfectly to the mouth.
It can be used to widen the jaw.
A narrow jaw can lack room for proper tooth alignment, which can cause crowded, crooked, and overlapping teeth. Since it reduces gum space, a narrow jaw can also lead to impacted teeth.
Palate expanders widen the upper arch of your jaw, making room for a child’s permanent teeth to erupt through the gums into their correct position. In some instances, the payoff of wearing a palatal expander is enormous. It will ensure your child can get a broad, beautiful smile without the need for tooth extractions, lengthy treatment, or even corrective jaw surgery in adulthood.
It can be used to correct a posterior crossbite.
Palate expanders are also used to correct crossbites. A crossbite is a dental malocclusion type that causes the upper teeth to sit inside the lower teeth. If left untreated, crossbites can cause complications such as:
- tooth decay
- sleep apnea
Types of Palatal Expanders
Palate expanders come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are removable, while others are designed to stay in the mouth for months at a time. You and your orthodontist can choose which type is appropriate for you based on the kind of treatment necessary.
Removable palate expander
If you require only a small amount of jaw expansion, your orthodontist may prescribe a removable palate expander. There are many different removal brands to choose from.
Except while eating, playing sports, or brushing teeth, you should wear the removable palate expander for 24 hours daily. They might only require two or three turns of the screw each week rather than daily or twice daily.
Hyrax rapid palatal expander
The fixed mouth expander has bands that are meant to fit closely around each back molar. The expander is secured using these bands, which are glued onto the teeth.
The hyrax has a screw situated in its middle, under the roof of the mouth. You will be given a key to turn this screw, with instructions on doing it.
Quad helix appliance
The quad helix is a fixed expander glued to the back teeth as well. This expansion is inserted into the mouth in a compressed position initially. It opens naturally over time, and no manual adjustments are required at home.
The fixed expander is also welded to the back molars. An acrylic plate that expands when compressed contains a screw in its center. This applies pressure to the palate and teeth.
Side Effects of Palatal Expanders
When you bite down too hard, a space develops between the two top front teeth. This is typical and intended for jaw expansion. Over time, this gap tends to close naturally. Wearing an orthodontic appliance may be suggested in certain situations.
Temporary side effects of wearing a palate expander may include:
How long do you typically need to wear a palate extender?
The upper and lower jaw bones do not ultimately develop until after puberty. Palate expanders function best before the jawbone has fully formed and grown. That is why palate expanders are used for a shorter time in children than in teenagers or adults.
Palate expanders can increase the jaw to the correct size in children between 2 and 3 months after they are placed. The gadget is left in for additional months, so the jawbone mingles and grows together.
This stage may take a year or longer in individuals with fully formed jaws. It’s also possible that you can’t use a regular type of device to expand the jaw at all. A surgically inserted palate expander might be recommended in some cases instead by your orthodontist.
Caring for your Palatal Expander
Keeping your teeth, gums, and expander clean and bacteria-free is critical. Plaque accumulation can cause irritation and swollen gums, making it more challenging to change your expander.
- Whether you have baby or adult teeth, brush and floss them daily, especially after eating. As directed by your dentist, you may use an electric or manual toothbrush.
- You may also use a mouth rinse squirted into the nooks and crannies of the device.
- Avoid eating chewy, sticky, or hard foods. Foods that generate lots of tiny particles, such as nuts and carrots, should also be avoided.
- Instruct your child not to chew on complex objects, such as pencils that may damage the device.