Palatal Expansion for Children
Palatal expansion helps create room in your child's mouth for their teeth to grow. The goal? To reduce the need for more extensive orthodontic treatment later in life.
What Is Palatal Expansion?
Palatal expansion treatment helps to create more space in your child's mouth by widening the upper jaw, preventing or minimizing issues such as impacted and overcrowded teeth.
In childhood, the upper jaw consists of two sides connected by the soft spot (or mid-palatal suture) in between them. This soft spot runs right down the middle of your child's upper jaw, allowing it to widen as he or she grows.
Palatal expansion treatment uses a dental expander to guide this process, so that there is enough room for your child's teeth to grow in correctly.
Benefits of Palatal Expanders for Kids
There are many potential benefits for palatal expanders, including:
- Avoids the need for invasive treatments such as tooth extraction or jaw surgery
- Changes the appearance of your child's smile to be more aesthetically pleasing
- Shortens orthodontic treatment time with braces or clear aligners as a teen
- Helps your child breathe, eat and even speak more easily
Starting Treatment at the Root of The Problem
Detecting and treating your child's narrow palate is a proactive approach to influencing the development of the upper jaw with the goal of reducing orthodontic problems, including teeth crowding, crossbite and more.
How Palatal Expanders Work
Palatal bones continue to grow until children reach puberty, making this unique, early phase of dental development the ideal time to detect and treat a narrow palate.
Palatal expanders are custom-made, metal appliances designed to gradually reshape and widen the bones that form the palate, creating more space in your child's mouth as jaw development takes place and adult teeth emerge.
Palatal expanders can be removable, but they are typically fixed in place until the completion of Phase 1 treatment. Parents simply turn the expander at prescribed intervals with a small key to gently expand the palate by a ¼ mm with each turn, helping to increase the width of the upper jaw to accommodate growth.