Palatal Expanders

There are several reasons why Dr. Martin might suggest a palatal expander for your child. The most frequent reason is a skeletal or dental imbalance in width between the upper and lower jaws. Normally, the upper teeth should cover all of the bottom ones. With some patients, the upper teeth lie inside the bottom one resulting in a crossbite.

A crossbite can be located between the upper and lower front and/or back teeth. When the crossbite is combined with a shift of the jaw on closure, this may lead to asymmetrical growth of the jaws and potentially discomfort with the jaw joint in the future. Dr. Martin might also suggest a palatal expander to improve the breathing, as this treatment as been shown to enlarge the upper airways.

Although it may vary from patient to patient, most patients usually feel a very slight pressure that is usually not considered painful. As you activate the appliance by turning the expansion screw with a key, a space may develop between the two upper front teeth. Don’t worry! That space is the sign of success, indicating that the appliance is working. In most cases, the space will close naturally with time.

Besides the very light tooth discomfort associated with the palate expander, you can expect a short adjustment period. During this adjustment period, your child may have more saliva than usual and slight speech impairment such as a lisp. The more they talk, the faster their tongue is going to get accustomed to the appliance – and the lisp will go away.

Depending on the age of the patient, Dr. Martin will decide to