Straight A Orthodontics offers palatal expander appliances so that the bottom and upper teeth will fit together better and to help improve their smile.
One of the most common orthodontic appliances used in young children is the palatal expander, or Hyrax, which “expands” (or widens) the upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on the upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Arch expansion is one of the most common ways of eliminating crowding and crossbites in growing young patients, and successful expansion requires that the growth plate in the roof of the mouth, also known as the midpalatal suture, is not fused. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
We have provided a convenient printable PDF document with step-by-step instructions of how the palatal expander works. The expander is attached to the upper arch by bands placed around the teeth or plastic bonded over the teeth. While there may be some initial discomfort when an expander is placed, just because there has never been anything like that attached to the teeth before, for the most part, upper arch expansion is a painless process.
To make the first couple of days more bearable for your child as they adapt to their new expander, you may want to find some fun foods for them to eat that don’t require a lot of chewing. Examples include yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, ice cream, etc. A day or two after their initial appointment, the expander will feel natural in their mouth, and normal eating can resume. While expanders are more forgiving of hard and sticky foods than braces, nevertheless, Dr. A recommends that patients avoid sticky or hard candies while the expander is being used.
Because there is always some relapse (movement back towards the original size), Dr. A may choose to over-expand your child’s palate. He will decide how much expansion is necessary as part of the initial diagnosis and treatment plan. After Dr. A indicates that your child has reached their target, he will instruct you on how long the expander should stay in place to stabilize the results. This may range from two months to the entire length of treatment.
Palatal expander treatment costs vary, depending on your child’s individual needs and developing an appropriate treatment plan that’s customized to what is appropriate for each patient’s case. Our staff will discuss the cost of treatment and develop an appropriate payment plan option with you. We will work with you to create a payment plan that fits your budget so that you can know what to expect. Our practice also accepts most major credit cards and insurance plans.
If your child needs a palatal expander to assist in arch expansion as a means of eliminating crowding and crossbites, please contact Straight A Orthodontics.