Palate expander is a commonly used orthodontic device used to widen the upper jaw or the palate to create more space for the teeth. It is usually recommended for people with crowded teeth or narrow palates.

Palate expander is typically used in children and adolescents whose jaws are still growing, although it can also be used in adults in certain cases. Palate expanders can be fixed or removable, and they work by applying gentle pressure to the upper jaw to gradually widen it over time.

Here, we’ll discuss everything there is to know about palate expanders, including who might need one and what the treatment process is like.

What is a Palate Expander?

An orthodontic treatment device known as a palate expander is used to assist in widening the narrow upper jaw. The treatment also helps to widen the floor of the nasal cavity for improved nasal airflow. The two halves of the expander are connected in the middle of the roof of the mouth by a screw, which, when turned, causes the halves to move apart and widen the jaw gradually.

Palate expanders are usually made of metal or plastic. They can be removable or permanently attached to the teeth.

Who might need this?

Palate expanders are used to correct a variety of dental issues, including crossbite, crowding, and narrow dental arches. Children and adults with crowded lower teeth or upper teeth or crooked teeth are the most common candidates.

How does Palatal Expander work?

Palate orthodontic appliances achieve a wider upper jaw by gradually separating the two halves of the expander and then screwing it back together with gentle pressure. As the screw is turned, the halves move apart, creating more room for the impacted teeth to grow out of while widening the individual’s jaw.

Palate expanders can be either removable or permanent. If you choose a removable expander, you will need to wear it for a certain amount of time each day. If you have a permanent expander, it will be attached to your teeth, and you won’t need to wear it all the time.

If you are advised to have jaw surgery treatment or upper jaw expansion, it’s best to have palate expanders put in earlier by an orthodontist.

Benefits & Side-effects

Palatal expanders can correct a wide range of dental issues. They can help to create enough room for teeth (even adult teeth), which can improve the appearance of your smile. They can also help to correct a bite or make it easier to clean your teeth.

Patients may experience some discomfort or pressure in the mouth during the initial period of adjustment, but this typically subsides within a few days. This is usually caused by jaw expansion and can be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medication. Some people also experience excessive or extra saliva production or difficulty speaking while they are wearing an expander.

Types of Palate Expander

There are four types of palate expanders: Haas, rapid, quad helix appliance, and removable palatal expander. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, so choosing the one that is right for you is important. Here, we’ll discuss each type in detail so you can make an informed decision.

Haas Expander

The Haas expander is a type of permanent palate expander. It is made of metal and is attached to the teeth with screws.

Rapid Palatal Expander

Rapid palatal expansion is a type of removable palate expander. It is made of metal and has two halves connected by a screw. When the screw is turned, the halves move apart, which widens the upper or lower jaw.

Quad Helix Appliance

The quad helix appliance is a type of removable palate expander. It is made of metal and has four halves that are connected by screws. This expander can gently open on its own over time, so you don’t need to turn the screw manually.

Removable Palatal Expander

If you only need to wear a custom-made expander for a short period of time, a removable palatal expander might be the best option. This type of orthodontic appliance is made of plastic and can be easily removed for cleaning or eating.

Is palate expander painful?

A palatal expander treatment is not usually painful or does not cause severe pain. However the patient can experience temporary discomfort, which is completely normal as it is usually caused by the expansion of the lower or upper jaw. Over-the-counter pain medication can alleviate this discomfort. Some people also experience more saliva production or difficulty speaking while they are wearing an expander.

How long do you wear a palate expander?

It all depends on your individual situation. Some people only need to wear an expander for a short period, while others might need to wear it for a longer period. The expander might need to be worn for several months for children or younger patients. For adults, the expander might only need to be worn for a few weeks. It is still important to consult with your orthodontist about how long you’ll need to wear your expander.

Wearing an expander can be uncomfortable at first, but most people adjust to it within a few days. If you start to experience any pain or discomfort from this treatment, be sure to talk to your orthodontist. They can help you find ways to alleviate the pain.

In Summary

In general, palate expanders are safe and effective devices that can be used to correct a wide range of dental issues. If you are considering an expander, be sure to talk to your orthodontist about whether it is right for you.