A palatal expander in Lake Forest, IL, is an oral appliance used to widen a narrow upper jaw. It is designed to fit on the roof of your mouth and attaches to the upper back teeth to keep it in place. Some palatal expanders are fixed, and others are removable.
What Does a Palatal Expander Do?
Palatal expanders are most commonly used in children; however, they can be used in adults as well. The purpose of a palatal expander is to make more room for your teeth or to improve your bite and the way your upper and lower teeth fit together. This is done by moving both halves of the jawbone further apart to create more space in your mouth. This is called a maxillary expansion.
Although this sounds drastic, it’s a common procedure. A child’s upper jaw isn’t all one piece, and the two halves don’t fuse together until after puberty. Therefore, a palatal expander can be used to gently move and increase the space between the jaws which will then stabilize over the course of a few months.
The typical age for a child needing a palatal expander in Gurnee, IL is between seven and eight years of age when their palate is still forming.
When Is a Palatal Expander Needed?
Your dentist in Lake Forest, IL will recommend a palatal expander when you or your child has one or more of the following dental issues.
- Crowded, crooked, impacted, or overlapping teeth.
- Overbite, underbite, crossbite, or open bite.
- A hard time chewing.
- Help break a prolonged thumb-sucking habit.
- Child and adult obstructive sleep apnea.
Are Palatal Expanders Painful?
Just like any other dental procedure, there will be some minor discomfort for the first few days. After that, when the expander key is turned, you will generally feel some pressure at the roof of your mouth and against your teeth. However, it’s not a painful experience.