While most people think braces are the only way to address problems with one’s bite pattern, there are orthodontic devices that can be used well before braces to avoid spacing and positioning issues altogether.
A palatal expander is a safe and effective way to bring your child’s teeth into the correct position as their palate continues to grow and expand.
The Importance of a Healthy Bite Pattern
Having problems with one’s bite pattern is much more than a cosmetic issue. Malocclusion can affect a patient’s ability to eat and speak throughout their lifetime.
A misaligned smile will also increase your child’s risk of cracked and chipped teeth as they grow older and become more active. Your child might have a difficult time cleaning their teeth as well, and this can result in tooth decay and gum disease.
What Are Palatal Expanders?
Also referred to as a rapid palatal expander (RPE), a palatal expander is a small device that fits behind a patient’s teeth. Brackets are attached to the teeth with a small tightening post in the middle.
Much like traditional braces, the brackets will apply a small amount of pressure to the teeth in order to push them into the correct position.
In addition to repositioning the teeth, the expander will also stretch the palate so it continues to grow and fuse correctly.
Installing and Using a Palatal Expander
Unlike braces, you and your child will be doing most of the upkeep for your palatal expanders. The installation of these devices involves little to no discomfort. Both you and your child will be shown how to use the device and what steps need to be taken to keep the teeth clean and healthy.
Depending on the severity of your child’s alignment problem, a small key may be used to turn the expander once or twice a day. This keeps constant pressure on the teeth and palate as your child’s mouth grows.
While some children experience minor discomfort, this can generally be taken care of with an over-the-counter liquid medication.
It is also a good idea to stock your home with soft foods which can be eaten immediately after the device has been turned. These devices will need to remain in the patient’s mouth for anywhere from four to nine months.
Schedule an Appointment for Your Child Today
With three different Dallas-area locations, Ragan Orthodontics proudly offers palatal expanders as a way for children to develop a beautiful smile as they continue to grow. We know how important a beautiful smile is in ensuring your child’s health, success and well-being. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child.