Comprehensive Guide to Orthodontic Expanders for Kids: Everything You Need to Know

What Are Expanders: A Brief Guide to Orthodontic Expanders for Kids | Junior Smiles of Stafford

It’s important to take care of your child’s oral health, which means you have to do everything in your power to make sure that you can prevent it against any health issues and have it immediately fixed, if needed. In this blog post, we’ll talk about one of the orthodontics treatment options for your child: expanders. We will talk you through the explanation of orthodontic expanders, their function, and why they are important. 

What are Orthodontic Expanders?

Dentists may suggest orthodontic expanders, also known as palatal expanders or orthopedic expanders, for a range of orthodontic issues, particularly in younger patients. These devices can help address dental issues such as crowded teeth, crossbites, and narrow arches by expanding the upper jaw, particularly the palate. Orthodontic expanders help promote the growth and gradual separation of the bones, cartilage, and sutures in the palate by applying controlled pressure to the sides of the upper jaw. With this, more room is created inside the mouth, which leads to properly aligned teeth, improved bite function, and a reduced need for intrusive orthodontic treatments in later years. 

How Does an Expander Work

An orthodontic expander gently and gradually widens the upper jaw, particularly the palate, by applying controlled pressure. The device’s central screw mechanism is connected to a metal framework that is secured to the molars using two bands. The appliance will gradually expand over time when you activate the screw, typically on a daily basis or as directed by your orthodontist. As the palate expands, it creates additional space in the upper jaw by causing the bones, cartilage, and sutures to separate. 

Purpose of Orthodontic Expanders for Kids

Orthodontic expanders for children are an essential tool in pediatric orthodontics, used to address a range of orthodontic and dental issues. These devices are created to broaden the palate, offering assistance to young individuals who may have crowding, crossbites, or small dental arches by widening the upper jaw. Orthodontic expanders gently widen the upper jaw, creating more space in the mouth. This improves tooth alignment and enhances bite function. This will have positive effects on both the child’s oral health and the appearance of their smile. An orthodontic expander is a great tool for promoting a healthy smile and boosting confidence in young individuals. It can effectively minimize the need for more invasive and costly orthodontic procedures in the future.

Types of Orthodontic Expanders for Kids

There is a wide variety of orthodontic expanders available, each developed to treat a unique set of orthodontic and dental problems in kids. When it comes to helping children get better, more evenly spaced teeth, these tools are indispensable. 

Palatal Expanders

Palatal expanders, also known as quick maxillary expanders, are commonly used on youngsters. Their goal is to gradually expand the palate, or upper jaw. This expander type effectively addresses tooth crowding, crossbites, and narrow dental arches, providing suitable remedies for these conditions. The upper jaw is gently widened over time to accommodate additional teeth with the help of palatal expanders. These expanders are usually attached to the molars and adjusted using a specialized key.

Removable Expanders

When a child doesn’t require extensive orthodontic treatment or continuous expansion, they are often offered this choice. Most of these expanders have a screw mechanism that can be easily turned by either a child or an adult to achieve the desired expansion.

Hybrid Expanders

A hybrid expander combines features from both permanent and detachable expanders. They offer a great balance of convenience and effectiveness. If a moderate amount of enlargement is required, a hybrid expander might be recommended. These expanders can be removed for specific activities such as eating and cleaning, making them suitable for a wide range of individuals.

Bilateral Expanders

If your jaw is uneven on one side or the other, a bilateral expander may be able to help. When the need for jaw growth is greater on one side than the other, they can be utilized.

Quad Helix Expanders

For youngsters who have particular problems with their teeth’s alignment, a common type of fixed expander is the quad helix expander. Their distinctive helical structure enables precise and controlled expansion.

Caring for Your Child’s Orthodontic Expander

Proper care and maintenance are crucial for the efficacy of orthodontic expanders in treating a variety of children’s dental and orthodontic disorders, as well as for your child’s comfort during treatment.

Maintain a Consistent Oral Hygiene Routine:

It is important to emphasize the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene when your child is using an orthodontic expander. When food and plaque accumulate around the appliance, it can lead to the development of tooth decay and gum disease. Ensure that your child brushes their teeth after every meal, paying special attention to cleaning the areas around the expander’s wires and bands. 

Choose the Right Toothpaste and Mouthwash

If your child’s orthodontist recommends using fluoride products, it is advisable to go ahead and acquire them. Fluoride is beneficial in reducing the risk of cavities by strengthening tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay. Using prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste can provide additional protection for orthodontic patients.

Follow Adjustment Instructions

To modify an orthodontic expander, just turn the screw in the direction your orthodontist specifies. In most cases, this requires pressing a dedicated key at regular intervals to make small but noticeable changes. Because the treatment result can be affected by over- or under-tightening, make sure you know the proper turning direction and frequency.

Attend Regular Orthodontic Check-ups

It is important to maintain regular visits with your child’s orthodontist in order to track your progress during the expander treatment. During these checkups, the orthodontist will address any necessary adjustments, provide answers to any inquiries, and ensure that the expander is effectively fulfilling its purpose. 

Inquire About Expanders for Your Child at Junior Smiles

From understanding their purpose and how they work to exploring the various types of expanders available, you now have the knowledge to make informed decisions about your child’s orthodontic treatment. It’s crucial to prioritize your child’s oral health and work closely with their orthodontist to ensure a successful outcome.

If you’re seeking expert pediatric orthodontic care in Stafford, Virginia, look no further than Junior Smiles. Our experienced team specializes in providing the highest quality treatment for children, including orthodontic expanders. We understand the unique needs of young patients and are committed to helping them achieve healthy, confident smiles.