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Dentist in Tysons, VA: What is a Palatal Expander?

November 9, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Farshad Farhoumand @ 8:03 pm

Can a palatal expander from my dentist in Tysons, VA help my child’s crooked teeth?You love seeing your child smile more than anybody, but you have to admit that their teeth have some very obvious issues. They appear crooked, but it mostly seems like they are just crowded. You remember having braces as a child, and the last thing you want is for your child to need them. You remember how uncomfortable they were and how self-conscious they made you feel. Children who need straighter teeth now have another option thanks to a palatal expander. What is it? How can it help your child? Your dentist in Tysons, VA at Avanti dental have all the answers you need.

What Can It Do For My Childs Teeth?

Dental issues can refer to more than just the teeth. The formation of your child’s jaw and mouth is actually very important as well. It is a significant factor in how their teeth are actually oriented, and how their adult teeth will eventually come in. Often, children may have crowding among their teeth, causing them to be crooked. This can lead to teeth becoming impacted, preventing them from coming in at all. The development of their mouth can also cause them to have an underbite, or even be the source of breathing problems.

All of these can occur if your child has an undersized hard palate. You probably know it as the roof of your mouth. Before a child hits puberty, this portion of the mouth is actually composed of two bones that meet in the middle. As they age, they become fused. For a child dealing with these issues, a palatal expander is able to widen their palate so that their mouth can better accommodate their teeth. This can help straighten their smile, allow their adult teeth to come in properly, align their bite, and even abate breathing issues.

What Is It?

A palatal expander is a metal appliance that is fitted onto your child’s top molars on each side of their mouth. In the middle of it is a screw. Slowly over time, this screw is turned so that the device puts pressure on the palate to expand it outwards. Because these bones have not fused yet, they will gradually widen. Once the desired width has been achieved, the device can then be removed. They are typically worn for about 3-6 months.

The key to this device is timing. If your child is young enough, the palate can be easily expanded and create more room for when their adult teeth come in. This can potentially save them from having to get additional orthodontics in Tysons Corner in the future, such as braces.  It can also shorten the treatment time if they still need them. Palate expanders are not recommended for children who have already gone through puberty because their palate will be firmly set.

Is It Right For My Child?

If you have a young child with crooked teeth, a palatal expander may be the best way to save them from more dental issues down the road. If you have more questions about a palatal expander or how it could help your child’s smile, please give us a call today.


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