Ask an Expert: Roblee Orthodontics

Ask the Expert
“What is a palatal expander and what does it do?”

“One of the most common orthodontic appliances used in children and it has been used since 19th century to expand the upper jaw to eliminate crowding and crossbites.

There are many different types but the most important feature is that it is fixed and can’t be removed

It works by gently separating the growth plate in the roof of the mouth. It is critical that the growth plate is not fused. Fusion usually occurs between 14&16 years of age

Overexpansion is done because there will be some relapse and typically the expander must be left in place for a minimum 4-6 months to hold the two halves of the palate apart while new bone develops between them

There is some discomfort when the appliance is placed but for the most part expansion is relatively painless.

As I stated earlier, expansion appliances is my go to appliance for correcting crowding and crossbites. We also now use it to improve a child’s airway and reduce sleep-disturbed breathing and sleep apnea. But the icing on the cake for this versatile appliance is that it creates a much more beautiful full smile.”

Dr. Richard Roblee, Roblee Orthodontics

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