Who can benefit from a palatal expander?
This appliance is most effective when the jaw bones are still developing and the permanent teeth are erupting through the gums. The optimal palatal expander age is generally between ages 5 and 12.
There are exceptions to every rule and some adults can still benefit from a palatal expander, but they most often require an implant-supported expander or a surgically-assisted expander if their jaw bones have stopped developing.
How does a palatal expander work?
This appliance uses small metal bands, positioned around the upper molars, with a screw piece that sits in the center of the roof of the mouth.
You’ll insert a special key into the center screw and rotate the key backwards, toward your throat. This is considered one full turn. Activating the expander will trigger it to exert gentle outward pressure on the upper teeth.
Over time, these tiny turns will expand the upper jaw to the desired width. Once the jaw bone is properly expanded, you or your child will continue to wear the appliance for approximately 4-6 months to prevent the bones and teeth from reverting to their original position.