What’s a Palate Expander?

May 16, 2022

Has your child’s dentist recommended orthodontic treatment? When it comes to your child, it is essential that you are in the loop with their orthodontic health. In this blog, we’re walking you through one of the most common childhood appliances—the palate expander. 

Importance of early treatment

Going to regular dental appointments and an orthodontic visit for your child around age 7 can help you stay ahead of their smile needs. For adults and children alike, a malocclusion or “bad bite” is a very common orthodontic problem that necessitates treatment. When left untreated, a malocclusion can worsen over time and make it hard to talk, chew, swallow, and, in severe cases, breathe.  

Luckily, early orthodontic treatment has some significant benefits; you can utilize a child’s natural growth to treat or prevent these problems. The palate expander is one of many valuable tools that our orthodontists wield!

What is a palate expander?

A palate expander uses gentle pressure to influence facial growth and increase the size of the upper jaw. This process creates room in the mouth for erupting teeth and widens the dental arch. Guiding bone growth may sound scary, but with expert care from your orthodontist, this gradual process is completely safe and comfortable.

Your palate, the roof of your mouth, grows in two halves, finally fusing during puberty. A palate expander uses the flexibility this provides to guide a child’s facial growth. For children, a palate expander is particularly beneficial as it can help prevent orthodontic problems in the future by giving their adult teeth room to grow. For some children, a palate expander may be the first phase of their orthodontic treatment before braces, or it could be the only treatment your child needs.

What does a palate expander treat?

A wide dental arch and expanded palate can help treat the following orthodontic problems:

  • Crowding: Before all of a child’s adult teeth come in, your orthodontist can tell if there will not be enough room for them. A palate expander can create the space needed to avoid crowding and tooth extractions. 
  • Crossbite: If a person’s upper jaw is too narrow to fit correctly with their lower jaw, their top back teeth will bite the inside of their lower teeth instead of the outside. By widening the upper jaw, this problem can be corrected.
  • Impacted teeth: Sometimes, a tooth gets trapped beneath the surface of your gums by other teeth. Expanding your upper jaw gives the tooth room to emerge properly.

Schedule an appointment

Jumpstart your child’s orthodontic health! Our experts at Hutta Orthodontic Specialists are happy to answer any questions you may have. Call our office at (614) 885-2000.