For many patients, early orthodontic treatment will be needed to assess their teeth and mouth and correct orthodontic issues prior to wearing braces. At Hoybjerg Orthodontics, we recommend that each child come to see the orthodontist by age 7. This way, we can analyze the bite, teeth alignment, and jaw bone. At this point, we may decide that early orthodontic treatment is needed in the form of an orthodontic device. The most common device is a palatal expander.
A palatal expander is an orthodontic device designed to prevent malocclusions or “bad bites.” This type of device is used during childhood to take full advantage of a child’s natural growth process. A palatal expander works to create more space in a child’s mouth by gradually widening the upper jaw. During childhood, the jaw bone is still malleable and can be better shaped to allow for straight teeth and a good bite.
At Hoybjerg Orthodontics, we understand that every patient is different and will need a different orthodontic treatment. It is the same with a palatal expander. Each expander is custom-made for the patient to fit over their top teeth at the back of their mouth. A metal wire will be connected to four teeth, two on each side, with a screw connecting all four in the middle. The palatal expander is activated by turning the screw a small amount every day with a key made for the device. Each turn will gradually move the jaw bones and teeth to a wider, more desired position. Typically, expanders are worn for 3-6 months to achieve a stable expansion.
At first, your child might be a little nervous when getting their palatal expander put in, but there’s nothing to worry about. You can expect the following minor side effects:
If you are interested in orthodontic treatment for your child, contact Hoybjerg Orthodontics. Our orthodontist will evaluate their teeth and decide if your child needs early orthodontic treatment like a palatal expander or can undergo braces right away. Schedule your first appointment for braces today! We look forward to hearing from you.