Jaw expanders or orthodontic expanders are the most commonly used orthodontic appliances to expand the palate. Jaw expansion treatments are generally done in childhood to benefit from the natural growth process of children and get good results.
Most orthodontists opine that the best age to get palatal expanders is between 5 to 16 years. During this time, the jaw bones do not fuse together and there is scope for expansion. Your child may be advised jaw expanders if they suffer from
- Crossbite – The back teeth on top should close outside the lower teeth to achieve the correct bite. In children with cross bite, the top teeth close inside the lower teeth creating an uneven bite.
- Crowding – When the jaw is too narrow, there is no space for the teeth to grow properly. This results in crowded teeth. Widening the palate creates enough space for the teeth to grow properly.
- ImpactedTeeth – Lack of space may cause some teeth to be blocked. These teeth are called as impacted teeth. Widening the jaw at a young age helps to ensure that there are no impacted teeth.
Apart from addressing the above problems, jaw expansion using palatal expanders provides the following benefits.
- Shaping the upper jaw helps to broaden the smile and make it aesthetically pleasing
- It helps to eliminate crowding and impacted teeth, so it reduces the need for tooth extractions during the installation of braces.
- If the jaw expansion is done at younger age, it eliminates the need for painful tooth extractions during adulthood.
- Widening the palate helps to improve breathing as an improperly shaped palate can block the airways.
The palate expanders exert pressure on the jaw bone and create a gap, which results in jaw widening. The device is created according to the specific measurements of your child and so it fits snugly inside the mouth.
To ensure your child gets the right treatment always choose a qualified and experienced orthodontist. The orthodontist should have experience working with children and must be friendly to make the child feel comfortable. He must be willing to clear all your doubts and offer proper guidance about choosing the right type of palatal expanders for your child.