A palatal expander is an orthodontic device used to gradually increase the width of a patient’s upper jaw to correct a narrow palate.
It is often used in tandem with traditional braces to address issues of tooth alignment.
A narrow palette can lead to a number of more complex issues if not addressed including, speech problems, airway obstruction and crowding of teeth. The device is made of a metal alloy, and is typically mounted to your upper molars. Your doctor will custom fit this appliance to conform to the shape of your teeth and mouth. It works by gently applying pressure to the upper jaw bone and the inside edges of the back teeth, gradually widening the area and placing the teeth in a more desirable position to work with the lower jaw and teeth.
Palate expansion can also be used with children as part of a preventative plan to make room for adult teeth to come in, reducing the amount of necessary dental work in the future.
The device has a screw that can be adjusted at home to facilitate more consistent pressure during the expansion process. Your doctor will let you know how often it should be adjusted and how long you will need to wear the device for. Once treatment with the palatal expander is complete, your doctor can continue using traditional braces to adjust your individual teeth, aligning your bite to provide improved function and appearance.
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