There is a very good chance that your child will have some problem with their teeth at some point in their life. Crooked, gapped or crowded teeth are the most common dental problems that a child will face. Everyone knows that crooked and gapped teeth can easily be fixed with braces, but most parents are unaware of palatal expanders. This dental appliance is able to repair crowded teeth much faster than braces.
A palatal expander is a dental appliance that sits near the roof of the mouth and is designed to expand the arch of your child’s teeth. Expanding this arch can fix crooked teeth and provide a better bite in only a few months. The palatal expander will not move during this time because it will be attached to the teeth using bands or plastic bonding.
It will only take a short visit to our office to have a palatal expander added to your child’s mouth. Since they have never had anything attached to their teeth before, there will be some mild discomfort for the first few days. Some pressure on the teeth, nose and roof of the mouth may also be present while the palatal expander is attached, but this discomfort should go away within a few minutes.
Adding the palatal expander causes the mouth to produce more saliva than normal. This will cause your child to slurp saliva and talk differently for a few days. Once the mouth gets used to the palatal expander, the excessive saliva production will end. Chewing may also be difficult for a few days, so you may want to make sure your child only eats soft foods. Palatal expanders are not harmed by hard foods like braces, but you will still want to keep sticky foods away from your child.
You will be able to notice the palatal expander changing the appearance of your child’s teeth as time progresses. The best way to see that the palatal expander is working is by noticing a small gap between their two front teeth. This gap is the result of dental arch expanding. The gap between the teeth will close once the palatal expander is removed.
Palatal expanders are usually worn for three to six months. While the teeth can be corrected in less time, over-expanding your child’s palate is necessary to get the best results. This over-expansion is done because there will be some relapsing once the palatal expander is removed. Your child should have a perfect smile once their palate slightly shrinks.
Adding a palatal expander to your child’s mouth may seem scary for some parents, but there is absolutely nothing to worry. Once they get acclimated to the dental appliance, there will be no side effects. You will be thrilled you got a palatal expander when your child has a beautiful smile in only a few months.