A palatal expander is a device that allows us to treat your child's improper bite or narrow dental arch. This device is specially designed to create more space in a child's mouth by gradually widening the upper jaw. While this may sound scary, it is a very easy and common procedure that will positively impact your child's bite and overall oral health.
Our patients or parents of our patients have shared their experiences with palatal expanders. We encourage you to listen to their stories so that you can learn more about palatal expanders and how they can help your child achieve a healthier bite, prevent overcrowding, or create more room for overall improved oral health.
The roof of your mouth is called the palate and is part of your upper jaw. Issues with bite, alignment, or even breathing can result when a palate is too narrow. Treatment with a palatal expander is very common and can be provided at either of our offices in Fresno, CA, or Clovis, CA. Dr. Greg Nalchajian and Dr. Nicole Nalchajian will assess your current condition and review all your options for orthodontic care, including palatal expansion during your first appointment.
The maxilla, also called the upper jaw, is made up of the palate and the upper arch. During childhood, the 2 bones of the maxilla come together to form the midline suture but do not completely fuse together until after puberty. Therefore, palatal development is much easier with pediatric patients.
A customized appliance, known as a palatal expander, is attached to the upper molars to widen the maxilla. A specialized key is used once or twice a day to adjust the device and gently expand the palate by stimulating growth at the midline suture—your orthodontist determines the frequency and turns before treatment. This places a slight pressure on the upper molars each time the expander is adjusted but is gentle enough for most patients not to feel any pain, although minimal discomfort is normal. A gap may develop between the 2 front teeth as the palate expands and usually closes on its own, but braces may be needed to correct the spacing of the teeth.
On average, a palate is expanded within 2–3 weeks. However, to secure the new expansion and to prevent regression, the appliance will need to be worn for several months more.
If you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your orthodontic needs, please contact our practice at either of our location in Fresno, CA, or Clovis, CA. A member of our friendly team will be happy to assist you in scheduling an appointment with Drs. Greg and Nicole Nalchajian. We look forward to seeing you in our practice and helping you achieve the smile you've always wanted!