The palate is the roof of your mouth and is also part of your upper jaw. If your palate is too narrow, certain unwelcome issues with your bite, the alignment of your teeth, or even your breathing can result. During your orthodontic examination, if Dr. Block finds that your palate will need to be expanded with a palatal expander, it is because you may be at risk for these issues. The use of a palatal expander is a very common treatment at our Metairie, LA, practice, and Dr. Block is highly trained to assess if this device will benefit your orthodontic treatment plan and your overall oral health.
How does a palatal expander work?
The upper jaw, also called the maxilla, consists of both the palate and the upper arch of teeth. When we are children, the two bones of the maxilla are not yet fused into what is called the midline suture. Around puberty, the two maxilla bones fuse together. Therefore, treating narrow palates with a palatal expander is much easier with young patients. This is another benefit to scheduling an orthodontic exam for your younger child — when we intervene early to correct your child’s narrow palate, it paves the way for an easier overall orthodontic treatment.
A palatal expander is an appliance that will gently apply pressure to stimulate bone growth at the midline suture to expand the palate. The device is attached to the upper molars, and a specialized key is used once or twice a day to adjust the amount of pressure. Your orthodontist determines the frequency of the adjustments. The process is gentle and generally does not cause pain, although minimal discomfort is normal. A gap may develop between the two front teeth as the palate expands— the gap usually closes on its own, but braces may be needed to correct the spacing of the teeth. The whole process of palatal expansion lasts about two to three weeks; however, to secure the new expansion and to prevent regression, the appliance will need to be worn for several months more.
Palatal Expansion in Old Metairie, LA
The Old Metairie Orthodontics staff will be pleased to schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Block to discuss your orthodontic needs. We look forward to getting you or your child started on the path to achieving a beautiful, healthy smile!