One major benefit of receiving orthodontic treatment when you are still a child is that orthodontists can use the child’s natural growth process to provide the most effective treatment. One device that is often used to prevent and treat malocclusions, better known as bad bites, are palatal expanders.
At Ragan Orthodontics’ three Dallas-area locations, Dr. Michael Ragan can use the expander to treat young patients and leave them with healthy and attractive smiles as they go forward in life. To learn more about expander treatment, or to make an appointment at our offices in Lakewood, Preston Hollow or Park Cities, contact Ragan Orthodontics today.
What are Palatal Expanders?
Palatal expanders are orthodontic devices that Dr. Ragan can attach to patients’ upper jaws. This widens the area and allows teeth to better fit together. The process is easy to perform and most patients tolerate it well, with little or no pain.
As upper jaws develop in youngsters, there are two separate portions that don’t completely meld together until after children hit puberty. Before then, we can stabilize and separate the two bones over several months. Essentially, palatal expanders are used to widen a child’s jaw so room is made for developing teeth.
After treatment with a palatal expander, young patients typically will wear braces. This ensures that teeth are positioned correctly after needed space is made by the palatal expander.
How long your child must wear braces depends on the individual child and his or her condition. Dr. Ragan consults with parents and children to inform them on what to expect during orthodontic treatment every step of the way.
There are a number of benefits in using a palatal expander. They include:
- Correcting teeth overcrowding
- Correcting cross bites of the back teeth
- Creating a wider smile for an improved facial appearance
Palatal expanders also can be used when patients have teeth that have not yet emerged, and other teeth are in effect blocking their emergence. Palatal expanders help widen the upper jaw so teeth can emerge in the right positions on their own.
At Ragan Orthodontics, we custom make palatal expanders for each patient to ensure it fits correctly and performs its job effectively. Expanders fit right over top teeth in the back of the mouth. The expander’s two parts are typically connected in the middle with a screw.
To activate the expander, these screws are turned a bit each day with an orthodontic key. This technique creates needed tension at the intersection of the two palatal bones – and gradually they move apart.
After proper expansion is achieved, most patients will have the expander remain for a several months to ensure new bone forms.
Use of palatal expanders are a proven safe and effective orthodontic treatment that has helped countless children achieve great smiles as they grow into their teenage years and beyond.
If your child’s teeth appear misaligned or in need of orthodontic treatment, it’s time for them to see the orthodontist. Contact Ragan Orthodontics today to schedule your child’s appointment and set them on their way to a life of good oral and overall health.