In children, the palate or maxilla comprises of 2 bones. These bones fuse together to form the roof of the mouth. Any problems in the upper jaw region can be easily treated at a young age, when the bones are still apart.
The process of jaw widening is done using an orthodontic expander also called as a palate or jaw expander. The expander is custom made to fit inside the mouth of the patient. The expander gently pushes the cartilage between the palate bones and allows new bone to grow, which results in expansion of the jaw bone. The process of jaw expansion is usually done in small children with jaw and teeth misalignment.
There are different types of palate expanders. The orthodontist may choose an orthodontic expander depending on the problem to be treated and the shape of the jaw. Let us know about some types of jaw expanders.
- Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)
The RPE is the traditional palate expander, used by most of the orthodontics. Rapid palatal expander is of 2 types: Haas expanders and Hyrax expanders. The process of widening the jaw using RPE is known as rapid maxillary expansion. The expander is custom made to fit inside the mouth of the patient. Once the expander is glued inside the mouth, the jaw is widened by turning a key on the expander at the determined intervals.
- Schwartz expander
This expander is similar to a RPE. It is operated by turning a key fixed on the expander. The only advantage of using a Schwartz expander is that it is removable. The child can remove the expander while performing activities such as eating, brushing or swimming. The expander can be worn around upper or lower molars.
- Quad Helix Palate Expander
This is a fixed palate expander. There is no need to turn any key to adjust this expander. It curves along with the palate and is used to widen both the front and back of the jaw. However, this expander takes a lot of time and is very slow when compared to the RPE.
These are some of the varieties of jausew expanders. You can choose an orthodontic expander, in consultation with your orthodontist.