Pros & Cons of Orthodontic Expanders at Mack Orthodontics
Posted on 05/10/2022

Mack Orthodontics is committed to making your and your family's orthodontic needs a priority. When considering a treatment plan, suggestions may include a palatal expander. But, what exactly is an orthodontic expander, how do they work, and is it something you need? Here we will go into the pros and cons of expanders to help you make the most informed choice for your oral health goals.

What is an Expander?

As some children get to the age of needing orthodontic intervention, Dr. Mack can use the fact that their mouths and jaws continue to grow to his advantage. Teeth crowding and poor bite issues may be able to be resolved with a palatal expander. An expander is custom-filled for your child and consists of two metal halves that are fitted over the back of their top teeth, meeting together in the middle with a screw. Each day, the screw is turned into a tiny amount with a special key. Over time, the movement expands the palatal bones apart, widening the space in a child's mouth.

What are the Pros of Expanders?

  • Corrects Dental Issues - Sometimes expanders can avoid the need for braces altogether. In other cases, expanders work in conjunction as part of braces treatment. In either instance, the use of an expander will greatly improve dental issues.
  • Health - In some situations, widening the jaw can improve the health of those wearing them, by allowing easier breathing,
  • Looks - Correcting crowded teeth and widening the jaw can improve physical appearance, which in turn increases self-confidence.
  • Avoid surgery - Palatal expanders only work on children whose jaws and mouth are still growing. When early intervention like this takes place, it can help avoid more intense dental work or even surgery down the road.

What about the Cons of Expanders?

  • Age - Unfortunately, palatal expanders cannot be used to treat patients over the age of approximately 16.
  • Cost - Expanders can cost a pretty penny, but if they help avoid extensive future work and potentially help avoid full braces treatment, the investment is more than worth it
  • Discomfort - While eventually, the pain will subside, mild discomfort is to be expected at the start. There might also be a period needed to get used to speaking normally.
  • Hygiene - Hygiene is of the utmost importance while wearing an expander. Plaque, food, and other objects might get stuck in or around the expander, causing an unfortunate smell. Good oral hygiene will help avoid this mess.

All things considered, the pros of utilizing a palatal expander outweigh the cons. If you are ready to discuss the next steps in your orthodontic treatment and are in the Bettendorf or Eldridge areas, please request an appointment to get started.