Safely & Effectively Create More Space in the Mouth
The roof of your mouth is called the palate. Issues with bite, alignment, or even breathing can result when a palate is too narrow. A palatal expander is an orthodontic device that widens the upper palate, creating adequate space in the mouth for all of your teeth.
Dr. Greg Nalchajian and Dr. Nicole Nalchajian offer palatal expanders at our offices in Fresno and Clovis, CA. During your or your child’s first visit, we will take 3D scans and evaluate your oral health to create a custom treatment plan. To schedule your appointment with our talented orthodontists, contact Nalchajian Orthodontics today!
How Does a Palatal Expander Work?
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, and we will show you how to use the key for your or your child’s palatal expander.
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.
The Right Age for Palatal Expansion
The maxilla, also called the upper jaw, is made up of the palate and the upper arch. During childhood, the two bones of the maxilla come together to form the midline suture but do not completely fuse together until after puberty. Therefore, palatal expansion is highly effective with pediatric patients because it widens the palate as the face and jaws are developing. We typically see children between the ages of 7 and 12 wear palate expanders.
Do Palate Expanders Hurt?
The expander places slight pressure on the upper molars each time the expander is adjusted. This is gentle enough for most patients not to feel any pain, although minimal discomfort is normal. Some sensations along the roof of the mouth are normal as the face and jaws adjust to this new pressure.
Braces After Palatal Expansion
Some patients require braces after wearing a palatal expander to correct the alignment of the teeth. A gap may develop between the two front teeth as the palate expands. The gap usually closes on its own, but if it does not, or if there are other alignment issues to address, braces may be recommended.
If it is determined that your child will need braces at some point, wearing a palatal expander may shorten the time they need to wear braces. Palatal expansion is the first step in the orthodontic treatment plan for many children and the results will benefit your child’s oral health and development.
Palatal Expansion in Fresno and Clovis, CA
If you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your or your child’s orthodontic needs, please contact our practice in Fresno, CA, or Clovis, CA. Dr. Greg and Dr. Nicole will create a custom treatment plan and determine if a palate expander is right for you or your child.
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We look forward to caring for you and your family at Nalchajian Orthodontics. Schedule an appointment today to start your journey to a beautiful, healthier smile!