A palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. It offer minimally invasive treatment for jaw alignment and structural issues in children. It is usually more effective in children under the age of 14 when the palatal suture is still "open". Palatal expansion in adults will require surgical assitance. Benefits of palatal expansion are the following:
- Corrects a crossbite. The upper teeth should close around the outside of the lower teeth. In a patient with a narrow palate, it can be the other way around, with the upper teeth biting inside the lower teeth. This results in asymmetrical growth of the lower jaw, which can cause facial asymmetry, if it isn't corrected in time.
- Eliminates or reduces overcrowding, by making space for all your child's upper teeth to erupt in their correct positions.
- Improves breathing ability. A narrow or deep upper jaw makes it difficult for a child to breathe through his nose. This results in continuous mouth-breathing, which causes the unhealthy inhalation of unfiltered bacteria, dry mouth and potential halitosis.
The palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. The animation below will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
Adjusting the palatal expander
You can also download these instructions in a printable PDF document.
In a well-lit area, tip the patient's head back.
Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.
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.
Press back and down toward the tongue to remove the key. The next hole for insertion of the key should now be visible.