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Are there palate expander alternatives for adult patients? Palate expanders are a standard oral device used in pre-adolescent children. However, teens and adults can also benefit from this dental apparatus. An orthodontic appliance such as palate expanders can treat common dental conditions like a narrow upper jaw. Keep reading to learn more about different palate expanders, how they work, and other alternatives for this treatment.


What is a Palate Expander?

Palatal or palate expanders are orthodontic devices that make more space in a kid’s mouth by widening the roof of the mouth over time.palate expander alternatives

The objective of palatal extension is to adjust narrow palates in children and accurately widen the upper jaw and teeth. In fact, this method can only be achieved before the jaw ultimately develops.

In addition, palatal expansion at a young age is the best approach to prevent crowded teeth, bad bites, and other misalignment issues.


What Dental Issues Can a Palatal Expander Fix?

A narrow space in the mouth can affect how the teeth fit together. As a matter of fact, this usually leads to substantial dental complications. Luckily, wearing a palatal expander can help create more areas in the mouth by widening the upper arch and helps fix dental issues like:

  • Overcrowding
  • Crossbites
  • Arch constriction

Most of the time, dentists recommend palate expanders for young children. This is because the mouth at a young age is still developing and more receptive to treatment. In fact, the upper jaw has two bones connected by a stitch and does not close until the early teen years. However, palate expanders can likewise be helpful for adult patients, even though the treatment might take longer.


Types of Palate Expanders

There are a few kinds of palatal expanders. Some are simply removable, and others are intended to stay fixed in the mouth for quite a long time. With the help of your orthodontist, you can decide which type is ideal for your condition.


Removable Palate Expander

Removable palate expanders are only ideal for minor jaw widening. You should wear this orthodontic device 24 hours a day, except while playing sports, eating, and brushing teeth. Removable expanders may just need the screw turned two or three times each week rather than daily or twice every day.


Hyrax Rapid Palatal Expander

The hyrax has bands that can fit cozily around individual back molars. Your dentist attaches these bands to the teeth, securing the device in place.

Furthermore, the screw-in this palatal expander is in the middle, under the top of the mouth. You will have a key to turn the screw, with directions on how to do it.


Quad helix appliance

Like hyrax, the quad helix is another type of fixed expander. Your orthodontist also adheres this device onto the back molars. In fact, over time, it gently opens independently and does not need manual adjustments at home.


Haas expander

Haas expanders is also a type of fixed expander that your dentist glued onto the back molars. The screw is also in the middle of an acrylic plate that extends when adjusted. In any case, this method creates pressure on the teeth and palate.


How to Adjust Palatal Expanders

If you have a manual expander, your orthodontist will ensure you have written instructions or videos on how to turn the screw. They will likewise give you a schedule or outline, so you can monitor how Invisalign clear alignerregularly you adjust your expander.

The palate expander has a row of small openings that you will be able to notice as you turn the screw. Your dentist will give you a key that looks like an opened paperclip connected to a handle.

For adjustment, you need to insert the key into the screw and rotate it toward the back of the mouth. This will help you achieve the desired expansion in your mouth. Furthermore, the rotation makes another hole show up. And remember that a new opening will not appear if you do not yet complete the process.


Do Palate Expanders Hurt?

A palate expander does not hurt while you are wearing it. In fact, even adjusting it should not make any painful side effects.

However, adjusting the expander may cause slight pressure along the roof of the mouth or a tingling sensation in the baby or permanent teeth. This feeling might extend upward to your nose or eyes. Furthermore, it commonly goes on around 5 minutes before dissipating totally.


Other Side Effects of A Palate Expander

Wearing a palate expander usually creates a gap to form between the two upper front teeth. In fact, this is a common effect of jaw widening, and the space typically closes all alone over time.

However, some temporary effects of using a palate expander may incorporate:

  • headaches
  • lisping
  • drooling


Alternatives to Palate Expanders

Palate expanders are just one of many orthodontic appliances used to fix bite problems. As a matter of fact, even an adult palatal expansion can be beneficial for patients with fully developed jaw or having permanent teeth. In any case, other treatment options may also fit your certain dental condition.



Traditional braces are a standard orthodontic appliance used to address various dental issues. They are also usually associated with children ages 11 and 13. However, older teen and adult patients can benefit from this treatment.



This option is an excellent alternative to traditional metal braces. Invisalign uses clear aligners instead of metal wires and brackets. In fact, it is a popular choice among older teens and adults. However, this treatment is not ideal for treating severe cases.



This oral appliance helps address overbites. Your dentist will attach Herbst devices to the back teeth and move the lower jaw into a correct alignment bit by bit.


Distal Jet

This permanent appliance is similar to a palate expander that sits on the roof of the mouth. In fact, a distal jet pushes the upper teeth back to create a space for other teeth or to adjust rotated teeth.


Teeth Removal

Sometimes, your dentist may suggest that impacted teeth be surgically removed to prevent overlapping or overcrowded teeth. Your dentist may also recommend tooth extractions for molars that do not have enough space to erupt through the gums.


Jaw Surgery

Corrective jaw surgery is the best option when dental conditions cannot be corrected with orthodontic devices.


Getting an Orthodontic Treatment

While orthodontics is usually associated with children, adult patients can also benefit from this treatment. In fact, various treatments can help adults correct alignment issues and improve overall oral health.

New Jersey Orthodontics offers different modern ways to improve a patient’s smile. With our trained and qualified dentists, you can achieve your desired outcome. To schedule an appointment, feel free to email us at info@newjerseyortho.org or call us at (01) 435-683-3660 today! If you’re in Australia, you can also visit Radiant Smiles’ clinic in Bundoora, VIC for a consultation.



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