What is Palatal Expansion?

a couple wearing braces

Palatal expansion is a common orthodontic procedure where the palate (roof of the mouth) is widened.

The purpose of palatal expansion is to widen narrow palates and correctly align the upper teeth and jaw.

This treatment is best completed before the jaw fully develops (usually between 8-18 years of age). However, adult patients can also benefit from palate expanders.

What are palate expanders?

Palate expanders are orthodontic devices that are used to slowly expand the roof of the mouth to widen the upper jawbone (maxilla) so that the bottom and upper teeth will fit together perfectly.

Expanders are custom-made for each patient based on their dental arch, palate size, and age.

Palate expanders are used to correct the following conditions:

  • Crossbites
  • Underbite
  • Impacted teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Improved breathing

Types of palate expanders

There are several fixed and removable types of palate expanders:

  • Removable palatal expander
  • Rapid palatal expander
  • Implant-supported palatal expander
  • Surgically assisted palatal expansion

During your first consultation, we will conduct a thorough orthodontic examination of your mouth, so that we can recommend the best treatment for your individual needs.

How palatal expanders work

Palatal expanders fit over several top teeth in the back of the mouth. They apply a force to expand the upper jaw over time.

The appliance has two halves that are connected in the middle with a screw. To activate the device, you simply turn the screw each day with a special key. This creates tension at the junction of the two palatal bones, causing them to gradually move apart.

Expanders are worn from 6 weeks (minor realignment) to 3-6 months (major realignment).

If you would like more information on palatal expanders and other orthodontic treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a FREE online consultation.

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