Palatal Expanders

Orthodontic Care in Frisco & Prosper, TX palatal expander model

With the highly educated skilled orthodontists at Corbridge, you’ll find the best orthodontic treatment in Frisco, TX, just north of Dallas and near Frisco and Prosper. Drs. Corbridge and Rogers-Raftery provide a full range of orthodontic treatments including several types of braces, Invisalign, and Invisalign Teen. We prepare an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs. While many of our patients begin treatment as adolescents, we have a growing number of adults in our orthodontic family. And, with advances in new technologies, orthodontic treatment is beginning at an even earlier age. 
 

Early Treatment With Expanders

One of the great ways that we can begin orthodontic treatment at an early age is with the use of palatal expanders. This orthodontic appliance is placed in the upper roof of your mouth to carefully and gently stretch your palate’s bone and cartilage, expanding it to accommodate permanent teeth and or to prevent crowding. While expanders are used in patients of all ages, installing a palatal expander in our younger patients allows us to take advantage of the fact that their jaws are still growing and so are easier to move. In fact, your upper jaw grows as two separate halves that don’t combine until puberty. With early treatment, the expander can mimic bone growth and widen the jaw before the two halves fuse together. 

 

What Does A Palatal Expander Fix?

Our Frisco orthodontists sometimes use palatal expanders prior to beginning braces or Invisalign treatment. Fixing the width of your upper jaw can assist with your orthodontic treatment in several ways, but there are three primary cases where we will recommend the palatal expander: 

  • Crowding. This is the most common use for palatal expanders and can be of benefit when your adolescent has permanent teeth that have yet to emerge or when your mouth is too small for your teeth. To be straight, your teeth need enough room to sit.
  • Crossbite: With a crossbite, your upper teeth fit inside your lower teeth. While this may not seem important, the problem can cause several different bite challenges later and can impact how you chew, eat, and speak. By widening your upper jaw with an expander, this problem can be resolved.
  • Tooth Impaction: Sometimes your permanent teeth start to come in behind or slightly behind and beside, your existing teeth. Widening your jaw can allow more space for this impacted tooth to enter your mouth in the appropriate place.

 

How Do Palatal Expanders Work?

Palatal expanders are custom-made for each Prosper area patient to the exact specifications of your mouth so that they fit most comfortably. Our orthodontist will fit the expander over the back of the teeth of the upper jaw and bond it to your teeth. The expander can then only be removed by your orthodontist and it can stay in place and work its magic. It’s magic actually happens by turning a small screw that is placed in the middle of your expander to activate the pressure. You will be asked to continue to turn the screw using an easy-to-use key so that consistent pressure will be applied to the jaw. The expander gently and gradually will push two two halves apart while stimulating bone growth. Once your jaw is in the desired position, the activation stops, but the expander stays in for around three months in order to give the bone tissue a chance to form in the middle of the palate. 
 

How Do I Adjust My Expander?

Adjusting your palatal expander is easy and it’s important to continue the gentle pressure on your jaws to facilitate your treatment timeline. Follow the instructions below, or download and print the instructions. [link to PDF of instructions]

  • Step 1: In a well-lit area, tip the patient's head back.
  • Step 2: Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.
  • Step 3: Push the key toward the back of the mouth. You will notice the fender will rotate and the new hole will appear. The rotation stops when the key meets the back of the expander.
  • Step 4: Press back and down toward the tongue to remove the key. The next hole for insertion of the key should now be visible.

 

What Should I Expect With A Palatal Expander?

Like any orthodontic treatment, you may find that you have some discomfort with this treatment, but it shouldn’t last long. When you turn the screw on your expander, you will feel a sensation of pressure in the palate and your back teeth, and possibly also a tingling sensation in your nose. The temporary discomfort should go away after 15 to 30 minutes, although in some cases you may find that your teeth are sensitive for a few days. You also may have to get used to having an extra appliance in your mouth which may affect how you speak for a short time. You may also see that there is extra space between some of your front teeth, but this is normal. Remember to carefully follow the activation schedule and the instructions that we have given you and when your treatment is complete you will have a perfect, beautiful smile.

 

Call Your Orthodontist In Frisco Today!

If you live in the Frisco, Little Elm, or Prosper areas, there’s never a better time to get started on your confident smile than today. If you’re not sure if it’s the right time to begin your child’s orthodontic treatment with a palatal expander, give our Frisco orthodontic office a call today at 214.705.6188 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Corbridge or Dr. Rogers-Rafterty. They will take a look at your teeth and determine if you need treatment, what type of treatment might be best for you, and when the best time to begin would be. We can’t wait to share your new smile with the rest of northern Texas!

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