Getting to Know Your Palatal Expander

A palatal expander is an important orthodontic appliance that may not be well known. Salem Orthodontist Dr. Castilla and her team have in-depth experience with palatal expanders for treatment of children, teens, and adults.

What is a Palatal Expander?

Simply put, a palatal expander is an orthodontic appliance used to widen the upper jaw. Most commonly used with children, the palatal expander is placed to widen the palate over time using gentle adjustments. Usually done daily, these easy to make adjustments are made at home and put a small but effective pressure on the upper molars and pre-molars, causing them to move into a more appropriate position while widening your upper jaw.

When is a Palatal Expander Used?

Most commonly, a palatal expander is used with children. The expander can help make room for permanent teeth to come in. It can also help correct posterior crossbites. While palatal expanders are most effective in children and younger teens, they can be used in older teens and adults as well. When used in adults, it is usually used in conjuction with surgical expansion.

Reasons for a Palatal Expander

There are many reasons that you might need a palatal expander, all of which will be thoroughly discussed between you and Dr. Castilla. These reasons could include:

  • A narrow upper jaw
  • A narrow upper jaw with an anterior and/or posterior crossbite
  • Not enough space for eruption of permanent teeth
  • Not enough space for alignment of already erupted teeth
  • Reducing the possibility of future permanent tooth extractions due to lack of space in the dental arch.

How Long Will I Have to Use the Palatal Expander?

When utilizing a palatal expander, several months are needed to allow the bone to move to the desired width. The expander is not removable and must remain in the mouth for the entire time.

At Castilla Orthodontics, Dr. Castilla and her team provide individualized orthodontic care and treatment for each patient. While generally a palatal expander is used for several months, the exact amount of time needed for your case will depend on your customized treatment plan, including the amount of correction needed.

Typically, there is no pain associated with using a palatal expander, just a gentle pressure when the expander is adjusted. It is essential to practice good daily dental habits while using a palatal expander during your treatment, brushing thoroughly after each meal.

For more information about whether or not you might need a palatal expander, contact Castilla Orthodontics at 503.399.0721 or email justsmile@castillaortho.com to schedule your personal appointment!