As orthodontists in Pennington, NJ, our dental practice must be prepared to help with any issue concerning repositioning the teeth and the jaw for a healthier, functional, and more stable bite. Occasionally, treatment plans will include the use of an orthodontic appliance known as a palatal expander. Palatal expanders are recommended when a patient has a very small palate or an underdeveloped palate. The appliance helps to make enough space to accommodate healthy permanent teeth development. It will also address upper jaw alignment issues.
Dr. Patel-Parekh may recommend the use of a palatal expander as part of the early intervention orthodontics in younger patients or to augment the use of braces in teen and adult patients. They are often used as one part of a more comprehensive orthodontic treatment plan, helping patients achieve the long-term results of a straighter and healthier smile that they desire.
WHAT TO EXPECT: PALATAL EXPANDERS
If you or your child needs a palatal expander as a part of their treatment plan, you should expect it to take about a week to get used to having the orthodontic appliance. During this time, it is normal for it to feel funny whenever swallowing, or when the tongue hits the roof of your mouth. Tongue discomfort in the first week is the most common complaint, though this should go away as your mouth adapts to the appliance. Overall, the patient should not experience any pain or longterm discomfort with the palatal expander as it is a gradual treatment option for resolving spacing issues. To best care for your palatal expander, avoid eating excessively chewy or sticky foods.
PALATAL EXPANDERS IN PENNINGTON NJ
If you are in need of a palatal expander, Dr. Patel-Parekh is happy to go into more detail with you about how this orthodontic appliance works within your smile. The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. The animation below will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
ADJUSTING THE PALATAL EXPANDER
You can also download these instructions in a printable PDF document.
In a well-lit area, tip the patient’s head back.
Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.
Push the key toward the back of the mouth. You will notice the fender will rotate and the new hole will appear. The rotation stops when the key meets the back of the expander.
Press back and down toward the tongue to remove the key. The next hole for insertion of the key should now be visible.
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
If you are in need of an orthodontist in the Pennington, NJ area, please consider visiting Pennington Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Patel-Parekh and our team are committed and dedicated to your entire family’s dental health. Please schedule an appointment online, and we look forward to seeing you soon.