To better explain what palatal expansion is, it is important to understand that the palate is just another name for the roof of the mouth. This structure separates the cavities of the nose and the mouth and is also a part of the upper jaw which is also called the maxilla and consists of both the palate and the entire upper arch of teeth.
In children, the 2 bones of the maxilla have not yet completely fused into what is called the midline suture, so young childhood is an excellent window of time to treat jaw issues successfully with a palatal expansion using an orthodontic device called a palatal expander. Dr. Warren will assess your child during their initial consultation appointment to see if a palatal expander is something that will benefit them, and then a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan will be created.
The palatal expander is a common orthodontic appliance that is cemented in the roof of the mouth and gently applies pressure to stimulate bone growth at the midline suture, guiding the growth of the jaw. Dr. Warren will give you and your child clear and detailed instructions on how to safely adjust the palatal expander during treatment, and we will make sure that you have all the ongoing guidance you need.
In general, the process is gentle and does not cause discomfort, although there can be some minimal soreness at times. It is normal to develop a small gap between the 2 front teeth as the palate expands during treatment, but this gap almost always closes on its own. If it does not, braces may be used to correct the spacing of the teeth once the palatal expander treatment is complete. The process of palatal expansion typically lasts about 2 to 3 weeks, but we often keep the appliance in place for several more weeks to make sure the new expansion does not relapse.
Warren Orthodontics works hard to make everyone feel special. Sometimes that means free ice cream; sometimes it means that extra attention to detail that we are known for. No matter your age, and no matter what your treatment is, you can expect to feel at home and worry-free when you walk through our door. To request a consultation with Dr. Warren for a detailed plan for you or your child’s orthodontic needs, including an assessment of your child’s palate and jaw development, contact us today.