Palatal Expansion at a Pediatric Dentist in Houston TX

We all love the way our child’s smile looks and how it can light up a room. As your child grows and matures, help protect their smile and make it even more beautiful by giving them a better bite with a palatal expansion procedure from a pediatric dentist in Houston TX.

So, what is a palatal expansion, and how does it help your child’s smile? Let’s go over all the basics of this common dental tool.

Palatal Expansion Shapes the Upper Jaw

A palatal expansion is a device that orthodontists and dentists use to widen the upper jaw so that the upper and lower teeth fit together better—creating an improved bite. Although this dental procedure is most commonly performed on children whose mouths are still growing, there are some adults who have had palatal expansions put in as well.

When you see a pediatric dentist in Houston TX to put in a palatal expansion in your child’s mouth, the appliance will be cemented in place on the upper teeth—typically the molars—and then the dentist will teach your child how to work the screw of the expander. The expander screw will need to be advanced every single day, so be sure that this is part of your child’s daily routine.

After the palate has been expanded to the width that your dentist has determined, the screw will no longer need to be advanced. This entire process typically takes about 4–6 months at most.

A palatal expansion is usually put in before or during a child’s peak growth spurt in order to obtain the best chances for skeletal change and they are typically followed up by braces to straighten the teeth. The use of a palatal expansion will benefit your child as they see an orthodontist and you’ll likely see much better results.

Underdeveloped Growth or Narrowing of the Upper Jaw Leads to Crowding

One of the most common complaints from people with crooked teeth is crowding, which is often a result of underdeveloped growth or narrowing of the upper jaw. Because the upper jaw is narrow, there is not enough room for all the permanent teeth to grow in, which can cause crowding, underbites, or an edge-to-edge bite.

Narrow upper jaw growth is often contributed to the following:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Mouth breaking due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  • Tongue thrusting
  • A family history

Do you have questions about a palatal expansion? Please feel free to contact Kids4Ever Pediatric Dentistry in Houston TX at 832-300-8444!

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