Suwanee, GA Orthodontist: Understanding Your Child’s Expander

It is not uncommon for your child’s first experience with orthodontics to be an expander. A palatal expander is often recommended for younger patients as either an early prep for braces or to possibly avoid braces altogether. It is a standard orthodontic appliance that is essentially used to create more space in the upper arch of the mouth.  A Suwanee, GA orthodontist typically has a goal of using the expander to eliminate crowding and crossbites in younger patients. In fact, an expander is most effective if it is placed prior to the age of 14, or before the growth plate in the roof of the mouth has fused together. Many patients still have their baby molars or canines when they get an expander.

An expander is usually a fixed appliance, which means it cannot be removed. This metal appliance is secured in the roof of the mouth and is typically attached by bands that are placed around the back teeth. An expander works by periodic activation or turning. You will be given a special tool to turn the appliance at home on a certain schedule that is instructed by your orthodontist. This may cause your child to feel pressure, but it should not be painful and the discomfort is very short-lived. If the key turns too easily or is very difficult to turn, let your orthodontist know.

Because this may be the first encounter with an orthodontic appliance, it may take time to adjust. It is common for your child to speak slightly different and even drool for the first few days. Reassure your child that the expander will feel natural and comfortable within a week or less. Perhaps the worst part of your child’s expander experience is the dietary restrictions involved. The rules are not as strict as braces, but your child will need to avoid sticky foods and hard candy while wearing an expander.

The time in which results are achieved varies with each patient. If you notice a space between the upper central incisors, the expander is working. Don’t be alarmed if the orthodontist chooses to over-expand your child’s upper arch. This is to account for the common occurrence of slight relapse once the expander is removed.

Orthodontic treatment can be overwhelming, both for a child and for the parent. There are multiple stages involved in orthodontics. When your child is still growing, there is often more than one potential treatment plan discussed. At Walton Orthodontics, we welcome and expect your questions. Your Suwanee, GA orthodontist realizes the importance of making your child’s expander treatment a positive experience so that future appliances are less intimidating.

Walton Orthodontics
2609 Peachtree Pkwy, #C
Suwanee, GA 30024
(770) 663-0955

Your New Favorite Suwanee, GA, Orthodontist For
Braces & Invisalign
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suwanee ga orthodontist braces consultation

Dr. Walton, our 5-star rated Suwanee, GA, orthodontist specializes in orthodontic care for you or your child with the most advanced types of braces for children, teens, and adults. These types of braces include metal braces, clear braces, Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, Damon braces, In-Ovation braces, braces behind your teeth and short-term braces. Visit our convenient Suwanee orthodontic office serving patients in Suwanee, Cumming, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Duluth and Milton, GA. Call 770.663.0955 today for your or your child's complimentary, no-obligation consultation for braces or Invisalign today!

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