5 Facts About Orthodontic Expanders

Orthodontic expanders are extremely helpful tools that allow us to quickly and strategically adjust the structure of your child’s mouth, but the term “expander” can be confusing and overwhelming. Though it sounds menacing, we want to show you all the ways they can benefit your child. 

Here, our team of orthodontic experts at LM Orthodontics shares important information about orthodontic expanders and helps you learn more about a treatment that could be crucial to your child’s oral health. Here are five facts about orthodontic expanders

#1: They can address a variety of issues

As the name suggests, we use orthodontic expanders to gradually expand your child’s jaw during their jaw’s growth and development stage. But there’s a wide range of reasons we recommend expanders for your child. Expanders are versatile enough to address everything from overcrowding and spacing issues to a crossbite, a condition where the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth when biting down.

Expanders can also give your child a more aesthetically appealing smile when all of their teeth are in the correct position.

#2: They’re not uncomfortable

When you first see an expander, you might be concerned about your child’s ability to adjust to a large metal device in their mouth. Your child might notice a bit of pressure as the expander works or when you adjust it, and the appliance may feel odd to their tongue, but overall expanders are highly tolerated and fairly comfortable. 

#3: They can improve breathing

You might not realize it, but teeth alignment plays a large role in breathing. As the expander creates more space in your child’s mouth and allows their teeth to find correct positioning, you may notice that they breathe easier and have fewer snoring problems. 

#4: There are two different types

We offer both upper and lower jaw expanders that can be used as standalone treatments or together. Here’s a closer look at how each works.

Upper jaw expanders

This type of expander is anchored to the back upper molars. They have screws that you turn every day using a special key to widen the expander by a quarter of a millimeter. Before your child turns 14, there’s space between the two halves of the bone of the roof of their mouth — upper jaw expanders widen their jaw before those bones fuse together.

Lower jaw expanders

Unlike the upper jaw, there’s no space between the bones in your child’s lower jaw. Instead of moving the jawbone, lower jaw expanders push and straighten teeth that are leaning inward. 

#5: They can be used with other treatments

Whether your child needs braces or opts for clear aligners, orthodontic expanders are a great companion. In fact, it’s not uncommon for our younger patients to need expanders in conjunction with other orthodontic treatments. They work together flawlessly to help your child achieve a functional and beautiful smile. 

Have more questions about expanders? Don’t hesitate to reach out and request an appointment at our McLean, Virginia, office today. 

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