A common orthodontic appliance besides braces is the palatal expander, also known as a rapid palatal expander or orthodontic expander. This appliance aims to expand the upper jaw so that upper and lower jaw sizes match and teeth align and meet in a harmonious way. We feel that achieving normal jaw growth is the single most important service we provide, and a palatal expander is the single most common appliance we at F&S use to achieve appropriate growth.
Although the period of this treatment usually varies according to each patient, the palatal expander has to be worn for approximately 14 weeks. Due to its form, this appliance may look intimidating, but don’t forget that this expansion process is painless and only temporary, especially when done at an early age of 7-10 years old. In order to ensure that the teeth and jaws maintain or improve their position, it may be necessary to wear braces or retainers after removing the palatal expander.
Palatal expansion is more common among children because their jaws are softer and easier to adjust, but there are also many adults receiving the treatment with improvements in orthodontic technology. Wearing a palatal expander is generally painless, but sometimes headaches may occur. At first, you or your child may have a feeling of soreness or discomfort, but that will quickly fade. You will also notice that an expander will temporarily affect your or your child’s speech, as some letters are harder to pronounce.
All-in-all, having a palatal expander is not really the scary experience you may think it is. Remember that it’s for the benefit of your or your child’s oral health.