Palatal Expanders

Orthodontic Care in Frisco & Prosper, TX palatal expander model

At Corbridge Orthodontics, we pride ourselves on providing high quality orthodontic care while maintaining a fun, friendly, and welcoming office environment. Dr. Corbridge, Dr. Rogers-Raftery and our highly trained team of orthodontic specialists work hard to make our patients feel at home each time they come to the office, and we strive to design specialized treatment plans that perfectly suit each patient's unique orthodontic needs. While most patients undergo orthodontic treatment during adolescence, in some cases, we'll recommend starting treatment earlier — and that can open up some exciting possibilities.

Shaping a Healthier Smile

One of the biggest benefits of starting orthodontic treatment earlier is that during childhood, we can take advantage of a child’s natural growth processes to literally reshape the mouth and make more room for a healthy smile. How? An ingenious device called a palatal expander.

Palatal expanders use gentle, carefully directed forces to actually widen the upper jaw, creating more room for teeth and changing the way the jaws fit together. It may sound extreme, but the treatment is surprisingly simple and gentle. That's because during childhood, the upper jaw develops as two separate halves that don't fully join together until puberty. By treating before this fusion, we can push the two halves apart and stimulate bone growth to widen the jaw.

Generally, there are three conditions where we'll recommend palatal expansion:

  • Crossbite: This is when the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth, and it can cause a variety of bite problems later on. We can use an expander to widen the upper jaw and correct this problem.
  • Crowding: Crowding occurs when there isn't enough room for the teeth, so we can expand the upper jaw to make more room and allow all teeth to sit in alignment.
  • Tooth Impaction: An impacted tooth is one that hasn't erupted yet because it's blocked in by other teeth. By widening the upper jaw, we can create more space for the impacted tooth and help it to erupt naturally.

How It Works

We'll custom-make an expander for your child's unique bite, then fit it over the back teeth of the upper jaw. Once placed, we simply use a key to widen the expander and apply a constant tension on the upper jaw, gradually pushing them apart and stimulating bone growth. Once we've reached the desired jaw width, we leave it in place for about six months while the two halves grow together, and when we're done, your child will have a brand new smile!

Adjusting the palatal expander

You can also download these instructions in a printable PDF document.

Step 1

Step 1

In a well-lit area, tip the patient's head back.

Step 2

Step 2

Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.

Step 3

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

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.

Things to Expect

As with most orthodontic treatments, it's normal for patients to experience some soreness, tenderness, or a feeling of pressure for a little while after we turn the key, but this is generally less uncomfortable than tightening braces and will fade quickly. Your child may also have some difficulty speaking when they first get the appliance, but this will go away as their tongue adapts. It's entirely normal for a gap to develop between the front teeth, as this shows the device is working. Once finished, your child will have a gorgeous new smile with just the right amount of space between all the teeth.

Contact Our Frisco Orthodontics Office Today!

Have more questions about palatal expansion or want to come visit us? We're happy to help! Feel free to call us at 214.705.6188, reach out to us at our contact page, or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment at our Frisco, TX office. We can't wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you or your child achieve a beautiful new smile!

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