Palatal expansion or upper jaw expansion is an orthodontic treatment for children. Dentists use this treatment to expand the circumference of the upper jaw in order to increase the space in the dental arch and provide proper space for teeth to grow properly.
This treatment is only recommended for specific cases, where the child has a less palatal circumference which can lead to crowded teeth. Here are some of the benefits of using palatal expanders for small children.
It Helps to Correct Crossbite
In normal circumstances, the upper teeth should close over the outer portion of lower teeth but in children with narrow palate, the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth. This may cause asymmetrical growth of the lower jaw and sometimes may result in facial disfiguration. Treating this problem at young age using palatal expanders helps to avoid serious consequences at later stage. The procedure of upper jaw expansion can be performed at any age between the years 5 to 16.
Reduces Overcrowding of Teeth
When a child has narrow dental arch, he tends to have overcrowded teeth. Overcrowded teeth disfigure facial appearance and are also difficult to care for. Expanding the dental arch using maxillary expanders helps to avoid overcrowding. It provides proper space for the teeth to grow properly.
Children with narrow upper jaw find it difficult to breathe through nose. They depend more on mouth-breathing, which results in unhealthy bacteria entering the body, dry mouth and sometimes halitosis. Using palatal expanders to correct the problem helps to widen the upper jaw and improve breathing ability in children.
There are many types of expanders. Orthodontists choose the right type of expander depending on the age of the child, reason for treatment and the shape of the jaw that is to be corrected. There are many types of maxillary expanders such as Rapid palatal expander (RPE), Removable expanders etc.
It is essential to take proper care of the child’s teeth while using palatal expanders to widen the upper jaw. The expander has to be cleaned regularly and proper dental hygiene must be maintained. This helps to prevent tooth decay and to keep the expander clean and hygienic.