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Orthodontic disorders are often due to a narrow upper jaw. Medical experts recommend correcting the condition before a child hits puberty to ensure maximum results. Dr. Pendleton offers palatal expanders Leander at Pendleton Orthodontics DDS to correct malocclusion due to a narrow upper jaw.

What you should know about a rapid palatal expander

A rapid palatal expander refers to a device that corrects bad bites (malocclusions) by adjusting the width of your upper jaw. They are also known as orthodontic expanders. These devices are often more effective in pre-adolescent kids, but adults can also benefit from them. This is because children’s jaws are still malleable and are yet to fuse, making it easy to correct the imperfection.

 If you or your child has a narrow upper jaw or a crossbite, your provider may recommend a rapid palatal expander. Treatment with the orthodontic device is simple and painless, guarantees excellent results, and improves your child’s smile aesthetics and functioning.

Dental concerns that a rapid palatal expander can address

The team conducts a thorough oral exam during your appointment at Pendleton Orthodontics. They may also review your dental history before recommending treatment. Dr. Pendleton may recommend using a palatal expander to increase the width of your child’s upper jaw. He may correct the device’s orthodontic conditions, including crowded teeth, narrow upper arch, or impacted teeth. In addition to fixing orthodontic disorders, a palatal expander can improve breathing and enhance your child’s smile.

How rapid palatal expanders work

During the initial consultation, Dr. Pendleton takes impressions of you or your child’s mouth. The images are used to design a custom palatal expander that fits snuggly over the top teeth at the back of the mouth. The device consists of two metal halves attached to the upper molars and secured in the middle using a screw. Your doctor instructs you how to turn the screw to minimize the tension between the two palaal bones, gradually widening your upper jaw.

Your doctor may schedule occasional visits to monitor your progress, but you should have the final results at the end of two to four weeks. Once your jaws reach maximum expansion, Dr. Pendleton reinforces the screw to avoid further turning. You will need to leave the expander in place for several months to allow your bones to stabilize and get accustomed to the new width. The treatment takes a total of 3-9 months.

Caring for your gums after getting a palatal expander

It is crucial to keep your palatal expander, gums, and teeth free of debris, plaque, and bacteria by cleaning them. Plaque buildup can result in swollen gums, tooth decay, and inflammation which may interfere with the adjustment of the expander. Depending on your provider’s instructions, you may also need to floss regularly, especially after eating, using a manual or electric toothbrush. The team may advise against eating hard, sticky or chewy food that may stick in your gums and expander.

To learn more about a rapid palatal expander’s benefits, call Dr. Pendleton or schedule an appointment online.