At Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, we believe that a confident smile can have an immensely positive impact on a person’s life. To help our patients achieve this, we’re thrilled to shed light on one of the cornerstone treatments of orthodontics offered by our qualified and skilled specialist – the palate expander. Come and join us on this enlightening journey as we explore the intricacies of palate expansion and how it can transform your dental health.
How Does a Palate Expander Work?
Fitting of Device
The process of palate expansion is a journey we embark on together with our patients. After a thorough evaluation of your dental and skeletal development, our lead specialist will craft a custom-made palate expander to fit snugly and comfortably in your mouth. This device is typically fixed and cannot be removed during the treatment period. Once the device is in place, our medical expert will teach you how to use a special key to turn the central screw a tiny bit each day, following a precise schedule.
This adjustment process gently widens the upper jaw over time, encouraging new bone growth. While this process might sound daunting, it’s usually painless – a testament to the body’s remarkable adaptability.
In the first few days after the expander is installed, it’s common to notice a gap forming between the front teeth. Don’t worry! This is a positive sign that the device is working as it should, creating more room in the upper jaw. As treatment progresses, the teeth will gradually shift into their new positions, and this gap will diminish.
After the desired expansion is achieved, the device is left in place for several months to allow
the new bone to mature and stabilize the expansion. Rest assured, throughout this journey, our esteemed medical specialist will be there every step of the way, ensuring the treatment progresses smoothly and comfortably.
What Are Palate Expanders?
This orthodontic device is a marvel of modern orthodontics, allowing our specialists to tackle various dental and skeletal issues effectively. Although commonly used as a treatment option for children, adults can also benefit from palate expanders when considering orthodontic treatment.
The device in question is a custom-made device that fits over several upper teeth in the back of the mouth. The key component of this appliance is a central screw that can be incrementally adjusted, applying outward pressure to the two halves of the upper jaw. This gradual and controlled tension stimulates the body’s natural adaptive response, encouraging new bone growth at the jaw’s midline suture, allowing for better teeth alignment and improved facial symmetry.
Identifying Ideal Candidates
You might wonder why such a device is necessary. Well, there are several dental conditions that a palate expander can effectively address. The most common is a narrow or crowded upper jaw, which can lead to crossbites, where the upper teeth bite inside the lower ones. This malocclusion can cause chewing difficulties, speech problems, and asymmetrical jaw growth if left untreated.
In other cases, our specialist might recommend a palate expander to resolve severe crowding issues, where there’s simply not enough space for all the permanent teeth to erupt correctly. A wider palate can provide the necessary room, preventing the need for tooth extraction and contributing to a more balanced facial profile.
Meet Our Specialist
At the heart of Central Texas Orthodontics lies a commitment to providing superior orthodontic care, a commitment upheld and embodied by our lead orthodontist, Dr. St. Louis. Renowned for his dedication, skill, and a patient-centric approach, Dr. St. Louis is the cornerstone of our practice.
The field of orthodontics is continually evolving, and staying abreast of these changes is crucial to providing optimal patient care. Dr. St. Louis embraces this challenge wholeheartedly. He actively seeks out avenues for professional development, reinforcing his expertise with the latest advancements in the field.
Intrinsic Health Perks
The most significant health advantage of a palate expander is its ability to improve breathing. By widening the upper jaw, the nasal passages expand, allowing for better airflow. This enhanced breathing can be particularly beneficial for children with sleep apnea or those who habitually breathe through their mouths. Improving nighttime breathing leads to better sleep quality, which is crucial for physical growth, cognitive development, and overall health in children.
Another key health benefit is the positive impact on oral hygiene. Straight teeth and a well-aligned bite are easier to brush and floss effectively, reducing the risk of dental issues such as cavities and gum disease. Good oral hygiene, in turn, is linked to better systemic health, helping prevent diseases ranging from diabetes to heart disease.
Boost to Emotional Health
Palate expansion also carries emotional benefits. A well-aligned, confident smile can significantly enhance a child’s self-esteem. This boost can help patients, especially children, navigate their social lives more successfully, affecting their friendships, school experience, and overall emotional well-being.
Improved Speech and Dietary Habits
Adequate palate width can also contribute to speech development. The roof of the mouth plays a crucial role in the production of certain sounds. By addressing narrow palate issues, we may help improve articulation, thus aiding speech clarity.
Additionally, a better-aligned bite can lead to improvements in eating habits. It may enhance the ability to bite and chew food more effectively, promoting healthier digestion and expanding dietary choices.
Contribution to Facial Aesthetics
This device can also contribute to balanced facial aesthetics. By promoting proper jaw development and alignment, they can help achieve proportional facial features, leading to harmonious facial symmetry. This aesthetic enhancement is an often-overlooked benefit that can contribute to an individual’s self-perception and confidence.
Join Us Today
We’re committed to helping our patients achieve their healthiest smiles. We understand the profound impact a beautiful smile can have on a person’s life. That’s why we offer comprehensive orthodontic solutions, including palate expanders, to set the foundation for optimal dental health and self-confidence. Join us today by scheduling a consultation with our specialist at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin TX and take the first step to uncovering your best smile.