What is a palatal expander?
This appliance is made of a fixed or mobile intra-oral arch that applies specific pressure on lateral teeth in order to reshape the arch.
Types of appliances available to expand the upper arch
When the upper arch is too small or narrow, your orthodontist may recommend the palatal expander that is best for you. Options include:
- Mobile palatal expander – implies regular adjustments made by the patient him- or herself or by a member of the family; your orthodontist will give you strict instructions with regard to the frequency of adjustments and will periodically assist you in order to monitor the treatment.
- The Porter appliance or the transpalatal appliance – they both imply in-office adjustments.
Who needs them?
This type of modeling / expansion / extension / widening of the palate is possible in children of a young age. Unfortunately, the results of such a treatment are not spectacular in nature in older patients, and this type of dental appliance is not a viable solution after a certain age, when the only alternative remains surgery.
Can you use braces along with palatal expanders?
Which are the disadvantages?
- At first, patients complain about pressure.
- In some cases, the ability to speak may be temporarily damaged, until the patient gets used with the appliance.
- Just like with regular orthodontic appliances, some food restrictions are to be applied.