Encouraging Toddler Dental Care

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A Palate Expander Could Be An Important Part Of Your Child's Orthodontic Treatment

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It's important to start dental visits when your child is young so your dentist can monitor your child for dental problems such as tooth crowding and misalignment of the teeth. When these problems occur, early orthodontic treatment is often advised since the bones and teeth in a young child's mouth are easier to move and shape.

If your child needs braces, they might also need a palate expander. Not all kids do, but in some cases, an expander is an important part of orthodontic treatment. Here's how a palate expander works.

An Expander Widens The Palate

An expander might be indicated if your child has a narrow palate. If the palate isn't wide enough, there isn't enough room for the teeth when they erupt. This can cause impacted teeth, crowded teeth, and misaligned teeth. If your child needs a palate expander, it is usually put in before your child gets braces. This allows time for the palate to widen, and then the braces can be put in.

An expander works by gradually widening the expander by turning a screw. The expander is worn under the upper palate and it pushes against the teeth. You need to use a key to move the expander a little bit each day during the course of treatment so your child's palate gradually widens.

There Are Different Types Of Expanders

Your orthodontist chooses the right type of expander based in part on your child's age. Some are permanent and some can be removed. However, they all work the same way in that the expander is gradually widened by turning a screw on the expander with a key.

If your child is in their teen years and past their growth spurts, the orthodontist may need to use an implant expander. This works on the same principle as expanders for young kids except they move bone rather than teeth. These palate expanders are attached to the bone in the palate with small implants, and pressure is put on the bones to widen the palate rather than push against teeth as other palate expanders do.

Expanders Can Be Worn With Braces

While it's common for a child to wear a palate expander for several months before braces are put on, your orthodontist might suggest wearing the expander and braces at the same time. This allows the braces to straighten out teeth that are already misaligned while the palate widens to allow new teeth to grow in straight.

If your child needs braces and a palate expander, your orthodontist will explain how the treatment will work and the timeline to expect. Every mouth is different, and your child's tolerance matters too. Your orthodontist will choose a plan that's suitable for your child's age and condition so your child is comfortable during the many months of orthodontic treatments they may need. For more information on braces, contact a local Orthodontist inPeoria, AZ.