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Palatal Expanders

Grand Rapids, MI Orthodontists

Palatal expanders are oral devices used to slowly expand the roof of the mouth and effectively widen the upper jaw. These types of devices are more commonly constructed for pre-adolescent patients, but our Grand Rapids, MI, orthodontists may prescribe one for teens as well to fix a narrow jaw.

Palatal Expanders Grand Rapids Mi Orthodontist

Who Needs a Palatal Expander?

Dr. Miller will recommend using a palatal expander for patients who have a crossbite or or narrow upper jaw. Because these conditions can impair future jaw movement and lead to unwanted oral health complications, they’ll need to be corrected by our orthodontist.

There are several different types of palatal expanders available that all can be custom-made to keep pressure on both halves of the jawbone, gradually widening them. If a palatal expander is deemed necessary, Dr. Miller will take a digital impression of the upper jaw and teeth so an appliance can be fabricated to fit your mouth.

Does a Palatal Expander Hurt?

Because of what a palatal expander is designed to do, many patients are afraid that wearing one will hurt. While it shouldn’t be painful, you will experience slight pressure when one is in place.

This feeling is expected and will go away shortly after you make routine adjustments. It’s common for patients to notice pressure along the roof of the mouth or a tingling sensation in the teeth when adjusting the expander. Like with metal braces, wearing the appliance will take some getting used to over time.

If you do experience pain or discomfort beyond what is considered normal, please let our orthodontist know and we will determine how to best help you.

How to Adjust a Palatal Expander

Depending on the palatal expander type, manual adjustments may have to be made at home. Our orthodontists will provide detailed instructions on the process so the screw located on the expander is turned properly and pressure is maintained.

Adjusting the palatal expander is not complicated and should be easy to manage. While many patients require help from a parent or guardian at first, the act of making adjustments does get simpler as wear continues.

Our orthodontists will let you know how often the screw on the device needs to be rotated. If you have any questions regarding your palatal expander, please contact our Grand Rapids orthodontics office.

See the steps for adjusting your palatal expander below.

  • Step 1: Tip your head back so the underside of the palatal expander is visible.

  • Step 2: Place the provided key into the hole in the middle of the palatal expander until it’s firmly in position.

  • Step 3: Rotate the key toward the back of the mouth. This will cause a new hole to appear that otherwise will not show if the rotation is incomplete. You’re finished rotating when the key meets the back of the expander.

  • Step 4: Remove the key by pressing back and down toward the tongue. You should see the next hole for insertion at this point.

Make an Appointment

If a palatal expander is needed for your orthodontic treatment, our orthodontists in Grand Rapids, MI, will custom create the oral device for you and provide care instructions. For assistance or questions related to palatal expanders, call Miller Orthodontics today at (616) 942-9320 or contact us online.

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