Expand Your Dental Horizons! Understanding Your Child's Palatal Expander

8 February 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


Healthy teeth and gums are important, especially for your child. However, focusing on your child's bite development is also smart considering it plays a crucial role in speaking and eating comfortably when they become an adult. While your child may visit their dentist twice per year already, consulting an orthodontist may also be beneficial if their bite is not developing properly. Considering early intervention can correct a child's bite 75 percent of the time, treatment at a young age may be crucial.

Of course, orthodontic consultations may cause some anxiety if you are not familiar with a common treatment to correct your child's bite. A palatal expander may sound like a frightening device to both you and your child, but it is an effective option to move and realign crossbites, overbites, and underbites. Using this guide, you will understand the benefits of a palatal expander for your child.

The Palatal Expander

The palatal expander is constructed out of metal and fitted to your child's upper jaw. The main element of the expander rests on the roof of your child's mouth, or the palate. The base of the expander includes a small hole, which allows the entry of a key tool. Each day, you will insert the key into the hole and turn. This motion moves your child's teeth gradually over time.

Inserting the key tool may be difficult, since it sits on the roof of their mouth. To make the process easier and more relaxing for your child, allow them to lie on their bed. Be sure their head hangs off the side, facing their mouth upwards. Have them open their mouth as wide as possible, making it easier for you to insert the tool.

While the palatal expander may sound very uncomfortable or even painful, your child will only experience a bit of pressure during application and when using the key tool. After turning the key tool, your child may experience some discomfort in their mouth and jaw. To relieve this pain, apply an ice pack to the jaw and allow them to hold it in place for 10 minutes.

In most cases, your child will quickly adjust and possibly forget the expander is inside their mouth.

Expander Care and Cleaning Tips

Since the device is both new to you and your child, some patience and practice will be necessary to care for their expander and teeth. Here are a few tips to ensure your child's oral health remains a priority while they are wearing the palatal expander:

  • 2min2x – Your child should continue brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice a day, even with the palatal expander in their mouth. Since food may become lodged in between the metal brackets of the expander, brushing properly is even more crucial.
  • Flossers – Consider purchasing a water flossing device for your child to use. This device forces water up under the expander brackets and base, rinsing away the food and bacteria their toothbrush may not be able to reach.
  • Dental Tools – Since your child will be eating lunch and snacks at school, packing a small dental kit in their lunchbox is smart. The dental kit should include disposable toothbrushes, which are manufactured with toothpaste inside them. In addition, place dental pics and disposable flossers in the kit to allow your child to remove pieces of food quickly after eating.
  • Keep your Appointments – Your child's expander may require periodic adjustments over time, so visit your orthodontist as recommended. It is also important to contact the orthodontist if your child is experiencing any severe irritation or bleeding.

A palatal expander is becoming a common orthodontic option for children of all ages, but early intervention ensures the most effective treatment. Using this guide, you will have a reduced fear and better understanding of the palatal expander. Check out a site like http://tlcdentalohio.com for more information.