A palatal expander is an orthodontic device which is used to widen the upper jaw so that the upper and bottom teeth fit together more properly. Although the expander is most often used in children, it can also be used with adult patients. One of the benefits of early treatment in children is that the upper jaw develops as two separate halves. The halves don’t fuse together permanently until after puberty, and because of this, the expanders are less uncomfortable for children than for adults.
The palatal expander works by gently pressing against the back sides of your upper teeth to expand the roof of your mouth. The device does not always eliminate the need for braces, but it can reduce the severity of the necessary treatment required.
Palatal Expanders can be used to correct:
With crossbite, the upper teeth fit improperly inside the lower teeth.
Crowded teeth can result in overlapping.
Sometimes a permanent tooth can’t come incorrectly because it is blocked by other teeth. Widening the upper jaw can allow the tooth to erupt into the proper position on its own. This happens most commonly with the canine teeth (cuspids).
Once the desired expansion is achieved, the patient will continue to wear the expander for a few more months to stabilize the expansion. Generally, expanders are worn for 3 to 6 months.