Broadening the Arches to create a Healthier Fuller Smile
Why Does My Child Require Expansion Therapy
Your child's orthodontist has determined that palatal expansion is necessary for your child. Narrow arches may interfere with the fit of the upper and lower teeth and not allow for adequate room for the eruption of the permanent teeth. Without correction, this may affect your child's appearance and may contribute to difficulties with biting, chewing, and speech.
Palatal expansion therapy can markedly increase the width of the jaws allowing the teeth to fit together better. This permits teeth and jaws to function well and contributes to a broader, more attractive smile. For some patients, expansion may prevent the need for the removal of permanent teeth in the future because more space is created.
Between the ages of 6 and 14, your child's baby teeth will be replaced by permanent teeth. Unfortunately, not every child's jaw is big enough to accommodate his/her adult set, resulting in crowding and misalignment. Removing a tooth as a part of orthodontic treatment is one solution, but if treated early enough expansion therapy is the ideal option and can make room for your child's permanent teeth without extraction.
What to Expect
An expander may feel bulky and uncomfortable at first, and when turned, your child may feel pressure on their teeth, roof of their mouth and sometimes behind the nose and eyes. But the pressure will dissipate. After the expander is placed, your child may also have an excess of saliva, and speech may be affected as he/she adjusts to the feeling. Until the expander feels natural, serve foods that don't require a lot of chewing, such as yogurt, ice cream, pudding, soup or mashed potatoes. Also encourage your child to stay away from sticky foods and candy that my get stuck against the expander. It is normal to develop a space between the front teeth during expansion.
Total treatment time for expansion therapy is approximately 10 months. We will start by placing the lower expander and once we have achieved the ideal expansion of the lower jaw, we will then place the upper expander. How often you turn your expander is based on how much expansion is needed, always follow Dr. Aloisio's instructions on how often you should be turning the expanders in order to achieve the best results. Once all expansion is complete, the expander will remain in place for an amount of time before being removed to ensure the results are stable.
Tips for Wear and Care
- Limit sugary foods and sodas. Avoid sticky, chewy and hard foods, as they can break the expanders.
- Brush your teeth and expander with toothpaste each morning and night as well as after meals. Make sure you are brushing your gums too.
- Rinse your mouth with water after meals to help clean any food that my get stuck under the bars of appliance.