Palatal Expanders in Lancaster, PA

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What Are Palatal Expanders?

At Lancaster Pediatric Dental Associates, we offer palatal expanders to help improve young patients’ jaw, bite, and oral function. Placed on the top of the mouth, palatal expander connects to molar teeth on each side of the upper arch. Its purpose is to slowly stretch the upper arch and cartilage, so your child’s jaw has the best position and size for their adult teeth. For younger patients with a narrow, upper arch, the top teeth may not come in, or if they do, it could cause misalignment and overlap. A palatal expander carefully expands the upper arch, which provides the necessary space for adult teeth to grow in properly. Please schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentists in Lancaster, PA to receive a consultation for your child. We can assess their teeth and provide the next best steps.

What Are the Benefits of Palatal Expanders?

Palatal expanders offer patients several advantages beyond helping to create a beautiful, confident smile. Some of these benefits include:

  • Corrects crossbites
  • Improves dental alignment
  • Restores the ability to breathe and speak properly
  • Reduces the risk of impacted teeth

Is My Child A Good Candidate for Palatal Expanders?

If your child has a narrow upper palatal, they may benefit from a palatal expander. One of our skilled orthodontists can enhance your child’s oral function with a palatal expander, which in the long run, will help with eating and speaking. A palatal expander can help with several orthodontic problems, such as bite problems and crowded teeth. After your child finishes this part of their orthodontic therapy, this particular appliance may also decrease the risk of cavities and gum disease by encouraging your child’s teeth to grow into their proper place. The best time to use a palatal expander is before the growth plates in the top of your child’s mouth fuse, which occurs in the mid-teenage years.

What SHould My Child Expect with a Palatal Expander?

Palatal expanders fasten to the upper arch with bands that we place and bond around the molar teeth. Typically, the appliances have a wire, coil, and a device that goes across the hard palate, from one part of the mouth to the other. Sometimes, your child needs to use a key that goes into the center part of their appliance, which stretches the expander. As you continue to do this process, your child’s upper arch begins to widen. We will let you know how often to turn the key. At first, the appliance will cause mild pressure in the upper jaw, and your child may have difficultly chewing and speaking until getting used to it.

Additionally, plaque and food tend to gather near the palatal expander’s parts. Because of this, your child may have difficulties cleaning and flossing. We recommend helping your child with these parts of their daily routine to ensure their teeth stay healthy. Depending on their needs, our orthodontists may also suggest additional cleaning tools to help during this particular part of their orthodontic care.

What Can My Child Expect After Getting A Palatal Expander?

When wearing the palatal expander, it’s pretty common for your child to have spaces occur between their teeth, so please don’t be concerned. Our orthodontists will provide information on when to schedule the next follow-up visits, so they can continue to assess your child’s oral health and development during this process. At a follow-up appointment, a team member may turn the key to adjust the expander and review the teeth to determine if your child has any areas that they need to focus on at home. This will prevent cavities and other oral issues. We also provide a timeline on how long your child should wear the appliance. Generally, they need to wear it for around 6 – 9 months. In addition to the orthodontic care, your child should still undergo cleanings and dental exams.

Does Insurance Cover Palata Expanders?

Palatal expanders may be covered in part by dental insurance. Our team can get in touch with your insurer to understand your coverage and calculate your out-of-pocket costs. If you aren't using insurance, we can discuss the payments we accept, such as medical financing.

Palatal Expanders FAQ

How long will my child need to wear a palatal expander?
The length of time a child will need to wear their palatal expander will vary depending on their unique dental needs. In most cases, children with a narrow upper jaw need to wear their palatal expander for approximately nine months. We strongly advise again turning the expander more than recommended by your dentist.

Are palatal expanders painful?
For the first few days, it is normal to experience some discomfort and difficulty eating and speaking. These symptoms will dissipate as your child gets used to their palatal expander. Though they may experience discomfort, a palatal expander should not cause pain. To find out if your child may need a palatal expander, contact our Lancaster, PA office to schedule a consultation.

How can I prepare my child for a palatal expander?
After the palatal expander has been placed, we recommend maintaining a soft food diet until your child acclimates to having a palatal expander. To prepare them for this, we recommend introducing the soft foods they will be eating prior to the procedure, like yogurt, potatoes, pudding, and soups.

What are the side effects of palate expanders for kids?
Palate expanders can cause temporary discomfort, including pressure in the jaw and teeth, and may lead to increased saliva production and slight difficulties in speech. These side effects are generally mild and diminish as the child adjusts to the device.

Is there anything my child can't eat while having a palatal expander?
While wearing a palatal expander, children should avoid sticky and chewy foods, such as caramel and gum, as well as hard foods like nuts and hard candies, which can damage the device. It's also advisable to steer clear of foods that require biting into with force, such as whole apples or corn on the cob, to prevent dislodging the expander.

What happens if my child's palate expander breaks?
If your child's palate expander breaks, it's important to contact your orthodontist immediately to prevent any disruption in the treatment plan and to ensure that the device is repaired or replaced promptly. In the meantime, avoid adjusting the expander and keep the area clean to prevent discomfort and infection.

Effective Solutions

A palatal expander can help widen your child’s mouth to help make room for their adult teeth to grow in. Your child may need it as part of their comprehensive orthodontic treatment, so he or she can attain a beautiful, stunning smile after finishing the entire treatment plan. Our caring and compassionate orthodontists strive to provide a positive experience for your child during their time with us. Please schedule an appointment at Lancaster Pediatric Dental Associates in Lancaster, PA to learn more.

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.