Many children have problems with jaw alignment, asymmetires, and breathing through their nose due to a narrow upper jaw. Rapid palatal expansion is a treatment that can help. Palatal expansion is among the orthodontic services offered by board-certified orthodontist Melena Planzos, DMD, MS, and the rest of her board-certified orthodontic team at Impressive Orthodontics in Brooklyn, New York. Serving the Bay Ridge / Dyker Heights area. If you’re interested in learning more about rapid palatal expansion, call or click to schedule a visit at your earliest convenience.
Rapid palatal expansion is a treatment used to create more room in a child’s upper jaw. It’s an effective way to correct a narrow upper jaw that won’t allow room for teeth to come in properly, to correct a crossbite, to improve breathing through the nose, and to create a broader and more attractive smile appreance.
This approach uses an affixed dental device to place steady pressure on the upper jaw. That pressure expands the jaw bone in a very gradual manner, eventually creating more space. This process is possible in children because their bones and connective tissues remain pliable and respond well to slow and steady force.
The device used for rapid palatal expansion is made of metal and secured in place by being cemented onto two of the back teeth. The delicate framework fits up against the roof of the mouth. Two arms fit against the insides of the back teeth, while the center of the device has a small screw.
Turning that screw every day incrementally moves the arms in an outward motion. The force created by the device slowly shifts the upper jaw outward, making more room for teeth to come in normally.
There is no pain associated with rapid palatal expansion. Because the force is changed very gradually, your child’s bone and connective tissues respond easily without significant discomfort.
Your child, however, can have challenges with getting used to the sensation of having a device affixed against the roof of their mouth. Some kids struggle to speak normally as they get used to their palatal expansion device.
Oral hygiene can also be a bit more complicated when undergoing rapid palatal expansion. Food can easily get trapped within and beneath the expander.
The best thing you can do to assist your child as they go through rapid palatal expansion is to remain positive about the experience. Try to focus on how wonderful their smile will be after orthodontic treatment.
It can also help to point out other kids who are wearing braces or other orthodontic devices. Because kids tend to go through rapid palatal expansion at an early age, there are plenty of big kids to point to as examples of how cool it is to wear braces.
Parents should perform the daily treatment compliance methods. It only takes a few seconds to turn the screw that expands the device. Taking care of this task lets you feel confident your child’s treatment is moving forward as prescribed.
You can also help them keep their device clean by encouraging solid brushing habits. Rinsing the mouth after eating can help dislodge food particles, and the special syringe you receive can help flush water around the device to remove lingering food. It’s also important to ensure your child isn’t eating foods that could damage the device.
When you’re ready to learn more about what to expect with rapid palatal expansion, book a visit online or over the phone today.