What is an expander and why do some young kids benefit from an expander?

A palatal expander is generally used for patients who are still growing, as it widens the upper jaw, making it easier to shape jaw and facial development during this stage. In many instances, the benefits of using an expander are so significant, helping to achieve a wide, healthy smile for your child. Early treatment can help avoid the need for tooth extractions, extensive difficult future treatments, or corrective jaw surgery later in life.

Here are the top 5 questions we get from our parents.  : )

  1. Why does the expander stay in when you are done with the turns? This is because we want to maintain the skeletal widening that we did. It usually stays for a minimum of 6-12 months depending on the case. We do not want to take it out too soon to get relapse. 
  2. How does my child keep it clean? Try getting a water floss to help flush everything stuck in the expander out. Normal brushing & flossing can still be done. 
  3. Will it affect speech? It could affect speech in the beginning: This is because the expander can alter the way the tongue moves and how air flows during speech. Many people, especially children, might experience a lisp or other slight speech impediments shortly after the expander is fitted. However, these changes are usually temporary!! 
  4. Biggest food restrictions? Anything chewy or real sticky to dislodge the expander. 
  5. Will the expander be painful? Using an orthodontic expander may cause some discomfort, especially after doing the turns. This discomfort is usually due to the pressure being applied to the teeth and jaw to achieve the desired expansion. It’s not typically described as pain, but rather a feeling of pressure or soreness. The cementation part is SO easy.  Tylenol can help with eating soft foods. 

Call us or text us if you have questions! (760) 743-2295. 

We are here to help you as your Board Certified Orthodontists in Escondido. 

With Love,

Dr. Cyrus & Dr. Neelab