A palatal expander is an appliance that makes it easier for your teeth to come in appropriately. The expander fits across the roof of the mouth and is affixed to the child’s molars where it applies gentle pressure for the course of treatment. Over several months, the expander gently expands the upper jaw, which allows permanent teeth to come in without being crowded or misaligned.
The alternative to ensuring that your child’s teeth aren’t crowded is to extract a tooth, but an expander can provide the same results without removing any teeth. When the correct expansion has been attained, the expander remains in place for several more months before Dr. Frankenberry removes it.
There might be some jaw discomfort with the installation of the expander, but that will subside once the patient gets accustomed to the appliance. Expanders are usually recommended for teenagers.
A patient may need a few diet modifications as they get used to the appliance. Soft foods, such as soup, pudding or mashed potatoes may be easier to chew when the expander is new. Avoid gummy or sticky foods that may stick to the appliance or make it shift while chewing.
Do I need to get any special toothbrush or cleaner for an expander?
To fight tooth decay, your child can brush twice daily using a regular toothbrush. It’s a good idea to floss too, to help prevent gum problems like gingivitis. Dr. Frankenberry may recommend a water jet or a manual syringe to rinse food particles from under the expander.
Here are four simple steps to adjust the device to the desired expansion:
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