The American Association of Orthodontists encourages parents to schedule their child’s first appointment around the age of seven when they have a mix of baby and permanent teeth. During this initial evaluation, the orthodontist will observe tooth growth, bite, and jaw development. Depending on what they find, they may recommend a device known as a palate expander. If you’re unfamiliar with expanders, here’s a list of frequently asked questions to review.
Top 4 Questions on Palate Expanders Answered
What is it?
A palate expander is an orthodontic device that’s placed along the roof of the mouth and bonded to the upper molars. The expander is not removable, remains in place for three to nine months, and is custom-made to fit your child’s mouth. The purpose of this device is to apply gentle pressure to slowly expand the junction of the palate bones to eliminate crossbite or misalignment of dental arches and ensure there’s ample room for all teeth to erupt.
Why should a child get this device?
Orthodontists recommend an expander for children and preteens because at this age the palate bones won’t be fully fused together. This flexibility allows the device to work and create more space for teeth to come in.
Can you wear a palate expander and braces?
In most cases, a palate expander is an initial step that takes place before braces. This way, enough space for all permanent teeth in a straight row is created, making the braces more effective.
What foods should be avoided?
While the expander is in place, orthodontists will recommend staying away from chewy, sticky foods like caramel, gum, and taffy; these treats can become entangled in the device and make cleaning a challenge. Extremely crunchy foods like popcorn, nuts, and hard candy should also be avoided to reduce the risk of breaking the expander.
If you’re a parent looking for a top-notch orthodontist that provides a combination of teeth straightening and jaw alignment procedures to improve the appearance and health of smiles, contact Dr. Deborah L. Schafer DDS, MS. Located in Wayland, NY, this full-service practice has had a top-notch reputation for inviting, personalized care since opening for business in 1993. Call (585) 728-3830 to schedule your first appointment and visit their website for more information on their dental services.