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Orthodontics: Purpose of a Palatal Expander

braces Wilton CTWhen people think about orthodontics, they usually think first of braces. However, there are other orthodontic treatments commonly used to improve the look or the smile or the alignment of the teeth. One of these treatments is a palatal expander. If you are in need of braces in Wilton CT, our orthodontist can explain how braces or a palatal expander can help you.

What is a Palatal Expander?

A palatal expander is also referred to as a palate expander, an orthodontic expander, or a rapid palatal expander. It is used to widen the palate, or the roof of the mouth. It is most often used on younger patients whose palates are still growing. It can also be used with adults, but this is less common.

When permanent teeth begin to come emerge in younger patients, crowding can become apparent. When teeth are crowded, there simply isn’t enough room in the mouth to accommodate them. Because of the lack of space, the teeth often grow in crooked or overlapping. In some cases, a palatal expander can create more room in the mouth so that these teeth can come in properly.

A palatal expander can also be used to widen the upper palate when the upper and lower jaw do not fit together properly, causing problems with bite alignment. Your orthodontist can provide information on whether a palate expander is an appropriate treatment, and what kind of results you can expect to see when treatment is complete.

How a Palatal Expander Works

The palatal expander is placed on the roof of the mouth and anchored to the teeth on the lingual side, or the side facing the tongue. A key inserted into the expander allows it to be gradually adjusted so that it widens the palate over a period of time. Because the child’s palate has not fully developed, the expander can gradually separate the bony structures in the roof of the mouth. In adults, the process is more gradual.

For more information on palatal expanders and to schedule a consultation, please contact Georgetown Orthodontics at 203-544-9338.

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