If you’re like most people, the thought of having orthodontic treatment probably makes you a little nervous. But palatal expanders are another story altogether! At Thacker Orthodontics, we’ve seen countless smiles improve with palatal expanders, and we know the dramatic difference they can make. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about palatal expanders, from what they are to how they work and how to take care of yours.
What is a palatal expander, and how does it work?
A palatal expander is a standard orthodontic device used to widen the upper jaw. It uses a custom-fitted appliance with metal screws activated once a day to gradually expand the arch of your upper jaw over time. The process takes anywhere from two weeks to six months, depending on the severity of your condition.
How do I know if I need a palatal expander?
A lot of the time, palatal expanders may be required as part of your orthodontic treatment. During your consultation, Dr. Jim or Dr. MaryEvan can determine if palatal expanders may benefit your orthodontic needs. Some common signs that palatal expansion may be necessary include:
- crowding in the smile
- a crossbite
- an inadequate arch length
What are the benefits of palatal expanders?
Palatal expanders can have several positive effects on your smile and oral health. For starters, they can make brushing and flossing your teeth easier, reducing the possibility of cavities and other oral health problems. Palatal expanders can also help to reduce crowding, giving you a straighter, more attractive smile. Additionally, they can improve facial balance and symmetry, which is particularly important for adolescents whose jaws are still developing.
How to get the most out of your palatal expander
To get the most out of your palatal expander, it’s essential to follow all instructions from your orthodontist. This includes:
Following your orthodontist’s recommendations for wear – Wear your palatal expander as directed and make sure you keep up with any adjustments or tightening that may be necessary. If you feel discomfort, Dr. Jim or Dr. MaryEvan may suggest an alternative routine.
Treat your expander well – It’s essential to take good care of your palatal expander by brushing and flossing it regularly. At Thacker Orthodontics, we always encourage patients to use a tool such as the Waterpik to clear away any residual particles that get stuck to the roof of their mouth.
Adjust your eating habits – As you adjust to your palatal expander, you may find eating certain foods more difficult. Eating in smaller bites will make it much more manageable. If you’re having a tough time, try eating soft and moist foods such as yogurt, applesauce, and mashed potatoes as you get used to it.
Have trust and patience – Palatal expanders work gradually, and it may take several weeks or even months to see any noticeable changes. Therefore, it’s important to have patience and trust in the process. The results are worth it!
Start your smile journey today with Thacker Orthodontics!
At Thacker Orthodontics, we understand palatal expanders can be a little intimidating, but rest assured, Dr. Jim or Dr. MaryEvan will help you every step along the way. For more information about palatal expanders or to set up your initial consultation, contact us today at Thacker Orthodontics! We look forward to helping you and your family achieve beautiful smiles.