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Palatal Expansion Services

Locations in Edina & Maple Grove to Better Serve You

Palatal Expansion through Expander Device Use

To set the stage properly, we want to assume that you understand the importance of taking your child to see the dentist at a young age. The dentist can with that visit and that evaluation establish a foundation, a baseline, a starting point as your youngster continues to grow. Out of one of these earlier appointments, as the permanent teeth begin to erupt, the dentist may identify an issue related to space. With the teeth that have come in its immediately determined that the jaw line and the alignment is going to end up with a serious crowding issue. This is when the palatal expansion is introduced. We’ll explain other indications in the youngster’s mouth that may warrant the palatal expansion, how the device works, and the end results and benefits of going through the process.

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Indicators that Suggest the Need for Palatal Expansion

There are three primary reasons to consider the palatal expansion process. The first one identified is that of a cross bite. This is when the child’s upper jaw to too narrow to line up with the lower jaw. The upper back teeth end up biting inside of the lower back teeth. An easy correction with the palatal expander.

The second one we mentioned earlier, that is of crowding. If there is not enough room for the teeth to erupt, they can and will come in crooked and the alignment will be off. Or they could remain impacted and not erupt because of the lack of space. Another easy correction by expanding the upper jaw.

Crowding can also result in a tooth remaining impacted and therefore not erupting because of the lack of space. Any dentist will always do everything possible to save your natural teeth. So, palatal expansion is a solution to creating space to encourage the impacted tooth to erupt.

Not very common but situations to note are those of airway obstruction, sinus and respiratory ailments and serious malocclusion, which is how the upper and lower teeth line up as the jaws close. Also of note is that palatal expansion may be of assistance if your child was born with either a cleft lip or cleft palate. The expansion may be part of the process to correct the group of conditions that contribute to this development.

Palatal Expansion Process

Palatal Expansion is not part of the recent digital technology surge in the dental industry. To the contrary, the first palatal expansion was documented back in 1859. There have been advancements in the methodology since then and the actual expanding device used today was introduced into the United States in 1956.

The results and the duration of the process is much easier to control if the patient is a youngster. The upper jaw begins its development as two separate halves that don’t fuse together until sometime after the patient reaches puberty. So, Dr. Pan is moving two different pieces of the puzzle that are not resisting each other. Much easier and much quicker. Palatal expansion can be done successfully in adult as well, but it will take a palatal surgery in combination with braces to achieve the desired results. It is often done for the same reasons, I.e., crowding, crossbite and airway. Generally speaking, a child wearing an expander is looking at six to nine months.

A palatal expander will look like a retainer that has been cut in half. Anchoring to the back teeth, the teeth that Dr. Pan wants to push out ever so slightly, the two halves are connected in the middle with a screw. The device is attached to the teeth and a key is simply used to turn the screw to induce the necessary tension to apply the force and pressure to move the back teeth out the desired position in the jaw.

You can now see how much easier this is when the patient is at a younger age. The growth of the patient actually plays into the favor of the palatal expansion. Rapid movement can have the patient turning the screw, or key, every single day, and repeating that daily process until the desired movement has been achieved. Slower expansion can take that daily movement and back it off to weekly movement. A lot of this is based on the level of discomfort the youngster is being subjected to and how much they can actually handle.

When the expansion is completed the expander will need to remain in place for another six months to allow the bones to grow at this point and not allow the teeth to return to their previous positions.

Final Results and Benefits of having the Palatal Expansion Process

During the process your youngster may find it challenging to speak and eat normally because of the placement of the expander. They will feel the pressure every time the screw or key is turned as well.

Often times after a successful palatal expansion you might see a gap between the two front teeth. Dr. Pan will determine if this gap will close naturally or if any additional orthodontic procedures are necessary to complete the revamping of the jaw alignment and the rebirth of a brand-new smile.

Even though the process sounds a bit scary it is perfectly safe, a regular procedure and has many benefits. The cross bite is corrected, the impacted tooth is allowed to erupt to save a natural tooth, and the bite pattern is normal. You will subliminally take a big step in the development of your child. Not enough is said about the value of a smile and the impact that smile has on our self-esteem and self-confidence. And when is this more important than the development of a child. With a nice smile that child will carry and present himself or herself ever so differently.

This also is the perfect time to develop good oral hygiene habits for your youngster. Encourage them to brush their teeth at least twice a day and to do it well, not to rush like children like to. Also show them how to floss their teeth and the benefits of doing so. Palatal expansion is a great first step in heading in the right direction in correcting a life-long smile.

Meet Dr. Pan

Pan Orthodontics Philosophy

To treat our patients as our families and to treat others as how we want to be treated. From your first phone call to the moment your new smile is born, everything in our office is set up to ensure an excellent experience with us. We will always listen to you and improve with your suggestions.

Patient Information

Our Commitment to You

We will continue to keep up with the ever growing digital technologies to improve your orthodontic experience. We also commit to always help you find the most convenient time for your visit with us.

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