Palatal expansion is an orthodontic treatment that widens the roof of the mouth with an oral appliance. This oral appliance widens the upper jaw by placing pressure on the palatal bones, which are not yet fully formed until after puberty.
This is why early treatment during childhood is ideal and most effective, as we can work with the malleability of the growth of the jaw. This is used to correct a narrow palate, which can cause a host of aesthetic and functional problems, such as overcrowding, bite problems, impacted teeth, and disordered breathing during sleep.
Contact us at Salt & Light Orthodontics in Irvine today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stephan Yoon.
Braces are about 300 years old.
At your consultation, the doctor will examine your mouth to determine if you’re a good candidate for palatal expansion and will explore alternative treatments when possible.
Impressions will be taken with digital scans to fabricate a custom-fit palatal expander that will fit the measurements of your jaw.
Once your expander has arrived, our Irvine team will call you back in to check how it fits and will secure it to the back of your teeth in the upper jaw with dental cement (unless yours is removable).
Once your palatal expander is in, you will need to adjust it daily by turning the screw with a key to keep constant pressure on the jaw.
Once the desired position has been achieved, the appliance will be kept in for an additional few months to retain the position and form new bone. Then, the appliance will be removed.
Without correcting a narrow jaw, you can suffer from enamel erosion, TMD, and poor oral hygiene.
OVERCROWDING - Insufficient space can cause the teeth to crowd and run into each other because there isn’t enough room to accommodate the proper eruption of these teeth. By widening the jaw, we can create more space for these teeth and can straighten them into the proper alignment.
CROSSBITE - A crossbite occurs when the jaw and teeth are misaligned, causing lower teeth to fold over the upper teeth. We can correct this by expanding the upper jaw, which would place the upper teeth in the correct alignment.
NARROW JAW - A narrow jaw can cause a host of problems, such as aesthetic imperfections, impacted teeth, and an obstructed airway. Expanding the jaw creates space for the teeth to erupt and opens the nasal airway so you are less likely to have a sleep disorder or breathe through your mouth.
- Impacted teeth
- Breathing difficulties
- Mouth breathing
- Narrow roof of the mouth
Palatal expansion is most effective when done in childhood, before puberty. While this procedure can be performed in adults, it has the highest success rate in patients under 16. Jaw surgery is often the preferred method of treatment for adults.
Between the ages of 14 and 16 in girls and boys, the jaw has fully developed and the bone has fused, which means it is no longer malleable without surgical intervention. With early childhood treatment, we can take advantage of the natural growth of the jaw to encourage proper alignment. This is no longer an option when the jaw is no longer developing.