Palate Expander Braces – All Questions Answered!

palate expander

As a parent of a child undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is important that you have all your questions answered. Palate expander braces are 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.

1) What are Palate Expander Braces and why are they required?

Palate expander braces are devices 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.

2) At what age should my child get palate expander braces?

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 expanders can treat older teenagers as well.

3) What is the procedure for fitting the orthodontic expander?

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.

4) Will palate expanders be painful for my child?

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.

5) What is the duration for which my child needs to be on orthodontic expanders?

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.

6) Does my child need an altered diet while on a palate expander?

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.

7) Is there any aftercare?

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.

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Dr. Satish Pai

Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and a faculty at Columbia University, believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence.  As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to not only creating perfect smiles for his patients but also educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to a perfect smile and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face. 

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