As a parents of a child undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is important that you have all your questioned answered. Palate expander is often a part of a child’s orthodontic treatment and I have seen a lot of parents ask 7 common questions.
So, let’s take a look at these 7 questions that I am going to answer for you.
- What are Palate Expanders, and why are they required?
- At what age should my child get a palate expander?
- What is the procedure for fitting the orthodontic expander?
- Will palate expanders be painful for my child?
- What is the duration for which my child needs to be on orthodontic expanders?
- Does my child need an altered diet while on a palate expander?
- Is there any aftercare?
A palate expander is a device used to control the upper jaw’s growth before starting the braces treatment. It is also known as an orthodontic expander. It is positioned on the surface of the upper jaw. Its job is to widen the upper jaw by gradually putting pressure on the top molars.
The orthodontic expander is a part of the interceptive orthodontic treatment. It is required for patients who need extra room for future teeth growth. It is also helpful in the case of crossbite.
A child should get a palate expander at the age of 7-8 years. At this age, their jawbones are in the formation stage. Thus it becomes easier for the expander to do its job. The mentioned age group is ideal for starting the treatment. But palate expander can treat older teenagers as well.
Expanders are manufactured according to the shape and size of the patient’s jaw. They are fitted at the roof of the mouth in top teeth through helves. There are screws placed in the expander. These screws are used to adjust the pressure it puts on both palatal bones. A unique key comes with each orthodontic expander to move the screws.
Your child can feel discomfort and sensitivity. Discomfort is caused by the tightness and pressure of the expander. Most parents are advised to tighten the screw of the expander once or twice daily for ¼ mm or ½ mm only.
The discomfort and sensitivity will last for some time in the beginning only. Your child will get used to it gradually.
The expander can be prescribed for as less as 3 months and more than 6 months also. Meanwhile, your orthodontist will guide you to move the screw periodically to get the desired result. Your dentist can replace the palate expander after 6 months with smaller appliances like a removable acrylic retainer or trans-palatal arch.
If your children are in the growing years, they must eat a healthy and balanced diet. At the same time, hard food like nuts, carrots, or apples needs to be avoided. Or you can give them these hard foods after cutting them into small pieces. Make sure they stay away from hard candies and sticky chewing gums. You can serve soft fruits, ice creams, and juices to satisfy their sweet craving.
In any orthodontic treatment, your child needs to be diligent with oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day is mandatory. Sometimes, your child can be asked to brush after every meal.
Contact our clinic if you have any further questions. And make an appointment for your child while he/she is young to make sure their orthodontic treatment can start on time.