There are many reasons why teeth might come in crooked or become crowded. For the upper teeth, the cause is often a narrow hard palate, or roof of the mouth. This is especially common in children, and in addition to creating alignment issues, this problem can restrict the upper airway and impact their sleep quality. Using a palatal expander, Dr. David Cordes can not only increase the size of the palate, but also fix and even prevent a wide array of health concerns at the same time.
The way a palatal expander works is very simple. Loops are placed around the upper molars, and these are connected by a thin metal bar. Over the course of a few months, this bar is gradually widened, which encourages the growth of new bone that makes the palate get bigger. This is typically done by turning a small “key.” Palatal expanders are almost always used to treat children because the bones of their jaws are more malleable and less set compared to adults.
Typically, a patient will spend time with a palatal expander before beginning braces or Invisalign treatment so the teeth have more room to shift. However, not everyone who could benefit from orthodontics needs a palatal expander. Dr. Cordes will determine if one is necessary when he sees a patient at their initial consultation.
Dr. Cordes often recommends palatal expanders for patients who: