Younger patients may require the use of a palatal expander to widen the jaw and encourage proper tooth eruption and development. The Doral & Miami Centers for Orthodontics use this and other advanced orthodontic treatments to help patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. We are proud to serve patients from Miami Springs, Kendall, Hialeah, and the surrounding areas of Florida.
What is a Palatal Expander?
A palatal expander is an orthodontic device that is used to widen the jaw in preparation for braces or other orthodontic treatments. This helps to ensure that the teeth will fit together properly, correcting malocclusion and other alignment issues. Palatal expanders also help make more room for developing teeth which may not have erupted yet. This prevents crowding that would otherwise occur and negatively impact tooth development.
What Are Orthodontic Spacers?
Orthodontic spacers are another tool that is used to prepare the teeth for braces. These are small rubber or metal appliances that are inserted between the teeth to create space.
What Are Spacers for Braces?
Spacers for braces are spacers that are placed between the molars to create room for braces. These are typically placed just a few weeks before a braces treatment begins. The main function of these spacers is to create enough space for molar tubes to be affixed to the molars. These tubes are an essential component to the braces treatment, and treatment cannot begin until the tubes are securely placed around the teeth.
We generally use tubes in place of metal bands, which many offices still use, for the comfort and dental health of our patients. Metal bands may contribute to food entrapment, cavities, and/or decalcification.
How Do I Adjust The Palatal Expander?
While wearing a palatal expander, you will have to regularly adjust its width at home until the jaw reaches the desired expansion. We typically recommend that parents adjust their child’s palatal expander daily for about seven days. Once the expander reaches the appropriate width, it will be continued to be worn for a few months to prevent the jaw from shifting back to its original position.
You should always make palatal expander adjustments in a well-lit area to ensure safety and accuracy. When you are ready to make the adjustment, tilt your child’s head back.
Next, insert the provided tool into the hole in the palatal expander. It should feel firmly in place, meaning that it is ready for adjustment.
Gently push the adjustment tool towards the back of the mouth. This will turn the expander screw, rotating the current hole and revealing a new hole. The rotation should stop when the adjustment key reaches the back of the expander.
Gently remove the key by pulling it toward the tongue and backwards. Be careful not to reverse the adjustment you just made. After removal, you should notice a new hole is fully visible in the palatal expander. This is the hole you will use for the next adjustment.
The Doral & Miami Centers for Orthodontics specialize in the use of palatal expanders and other orthodontic appliances. To learn more about this or other orthodontic treatments, contact us today. We welcome residents from Miami Springs, Kendall, Hialeah, and the nearby Florida communities.