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Types of Expanders for Teeth
Dental Health Care Guides

Types of Expanders for Teeth

In children, permanent teeth start to come in when they reach the age of six replacing their primary teeth. However in some cases, child’s jaw is still just too small for adult’s teeth to erupt, causing problems like teeth misalignment and crowding. One of the solutions for the problems is tooth extraction. For children, however, jaw expanders for teeth can effectively expand jaws to make room for permanent teeth. It means there is no need for teeth extraction. There are two types of expanders depending on which jaw to be expanded. They are upper jaw expander and lower jaw expander.

expanders-for-small-or-narrow-jaw Types of Expanders for Teeth

What are Expanders for Teeth

Upper jaw expander is called palatal expansion because it aims at expanded a growing arch by stretching palatal cartilage and bone. This treatment is usually done between ages 14 and 16 where child’s mid-palatal suture has not yet fused. The procedure uses metal rings to attach the expander to the molars. The expander is activated by turning its expansion screws. It takes several weeks for the appliance to stretch the palatal cartilage. A gap formed between your child’s two lateral incisors is a sign that the expansion takes place. During the first days of using an expander, children may feel uncomfortable because it feels bulky, and when activated, they may feel pressure on some areas in the mouth such as on the teeth, mouth roof, and even eyes and nose. Over time, the expander will feel natural and the pressure will gradually disappear.

The expander also causes an excess of saliva. In few cases, it may affect speech as well. To minimize the discomfort, serve your kid soft foods such as pudding, creamy pudding, mashed potatoes, and other foods that can be swollen without too much chewing. Also, avoid eating sticky foods because they can get stuck in the expander.

The second type is lower jaw expander. A lower expander has a different function from the upper one. Unlike the bone of upper arch that can be expanded, the bone of the lower arch cannot. Therefore the lower expander is just merely mores the teeth. The expander does its job to either upright or flares the teeth. There should be enough gum tissue and bone around the teeth’s roots otherwise placing lower expander won’t give best result. In cases where there is lack of bone and gum tissue, teeth extraction gives a more effective result.

Basically, the appliances used for lower jaw expansion are almost similar to those used for upper jaw expansion. Other appliances such as sagittal appliances, braces, and lip bumpers can also be used. It all depends on your orthodontist because orthodontists may have different preferences in using certain appliances.

After an expander is placed, you should encourage your kid to keep up an oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay. Keeping the teeth and expander clean is very important because debris and food can get easily caught under the expander. Brushing and flossing will help flush out debris from the expander. If necessary, a palate cleaner can be used.

image: westsideorthodontics.com.au