A palatal expander is a device that is used in growing children to correct orthodontic problems.
An expander is customized to fit each patient’s mouth. The appliance consists of two halves that are connected by a screw. To begin the expansion process, you simply turn the screw using a special key. When you turn the screw, the two halves begin to separate and create tension to encourage the two palatal bones to move apart and widen the palate. Once the expansion goals are met, the device is left in place for a few more months to allow new bone to form. Typically, patients wear palatal expanders for a total period of 6-9 months.
Palatal expanders work by making enough room for all of your child’s upper teeth to erupt into their appropriate positions; this eliminates or reduces overcrowding. An additional benefit is increased ability to breathe by creating better airflow. Reducing crowding will reduce or eliminate the need to extract permanent teeth in the future and will shorten overall orthodontic treatment length.