Your child’s teeth start growing in when they are toddlers and will be replaced by adult teeth between the ages of 6 and 13. However, there are many children that do not have a jaw big enough to fit a full set of adult teeth. This problem can result in misalignment as well as crowding in the mouth. In most cases, removing a tooth is required in order to make room in the mouth. A palatal expander can be used to do the same thing without the need for extracting a tooth.
Each patient will get an expander custom made to fit over teeth in the back of the mouth. Two halves are connected with a screw in the middle, and to activate it your dentist will turn the screw with a special key. This creates tension in the palatal bones that causes them to move apart gradually.
When your palate has been expanded and allows permanent teeth to fit, the appliance will be left in the mouth for several more months so that the bone can form and the expansion will stabilize. This can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months.
There may be some feelings of soreness as well as pressure after your dentist has adjusted the device with the special key. However, this discomfort is less painful than getting braces tightened. Your child may notice that eating or speaking feels different after the device has been inserted, but this is normal as the tongue adjusts to the appliance being in your child’s mouth.
You may also notice a gap in the front teeth. This is normal and shows that the device is working to expand the room in your child’s mouth. When the treatment has been completed, your child will have permanent teeth that are aligned and look beautiful with the perfect amount of space between each tooth. If you would like more information about how this device can be used to improve your child’s smile, call our practice and speak with one of our friendly and helpful team members.