Palate expander or jaw expander is a device used by orthodontists to widen the roof of the mouth. The device is mostly used in young children to treat problems such as crossbite, crowding and impacted teeth. Since the palate of young children is not fused, the jaw expander works by increasing the gap between the two bones. This creates space in the jaw for proper placement of teeth.
The devise is mostly prescribed for children under the age of puberty to take advantage of the normal growth process and ensure fast and effective results. A palatal expander can be used both for the lower and the upper jaws depending on the requirement of the patient.
Side-effects of a Palate Expander
Like any other treatment option, palatal expansion also involves some pain and a few side-effects.
- The palatal expander is a foreign object and may feel bulky and uncomfortable inside the mouth.
- Eating, speaking and brushing with the palate expander can be uncomfortable and painful.
- Since the expander puts pressure on the palate to create a gap between the bones, there is pain and inconvenience until the child get used to the pressure.
- Every time the screw of the expander is tightened to increase the pressure, the child may experience some pain for a few days.
- The pressure on the palate can cause recurrent headaches.
- Many children find it difficult to speak with an expander.
- Some children suffer from extra saliva and drooling in the initial days of the installation of the jaw expander. The problem generally fades away as the child gets used to the device.
- As the space between the two palatal bones increases, the tooth also move to adjust to the new space. This may create some gaps between the teeth.
- Poor dental hygiene. Food particles tend to get deposited in the space between the expander and your mouth. It is essential to maintain good oral hygiene to eliminate the build-up of plaque and bacteria.
A palatal expander helps to treat malocclusion problems in children. However, It is advisable to follow the instructions of your orthodontist to ensure that there is less pain and inconvenience. However, consult the orthodontist immediately when your child complains of excessive pain.