For many dental problems, many people assume that braces are a solution. However, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all answer, and the available options include different types of dental space maintainers, also known as upper jaw expanders. These devices add to the space of the hard palate at the roof of the mouth, allowing for more room for teeth to sit within their dedicated spaces properly. Most expanders are prescribed to children but can be used by teenagers and adults to undo certain functional and aesthetic factors.
If you have problems with spacing in your upper jaw, you may need dental space maintainers. The team at Greenwood Dental can help you find a comfortable solution to your jaw spacing. Learn more about your options and schedule an appointment today by calling 855.528.3961.
What Does an Upper Jaw Expander Do?
Several different complexities of the mouth and teeth may call for an upper jaw expander. Examples include:
- Widen the jaw for improper tooth alignment, like crowded, crooked, overlapping teeth
- Making room for soon-to-erupt adult teeth in children’s mouths
- Correct misaligned bites that can cause pain, tooth decay, and sleep apnea
Most upper jaw expanders come in two pieces that connect by a screw in the center of the roof of the mouth and attach to the molars either by glue or bands. Depending on the expander dentists suggest, the middle screw is tightened, slowly pushing each side of the jaw away from the center to make room.
The different types of upper jaw expanders are made from different materials, are invasive or non-invasive, and can serve different purposes depending on the patient’s age. The following is a list of types of upper jaw expanders, from non-invasive to most invasive:
- Removable palate expander – Similar to a retainer, this particular dental appliance is made of acrylic rather than chrome, used primarily when only a small amount of space is needed.
- Rapid palate expander – The first type to attach long-term to the back molars, this expander is adjusted every day, taking three to six months to accomplish the desired result.
- Surgically assisted rapid palate expander (SARPE) – Used primarily for extreme cases or adults with fully formed bone structures, this expander is surgically implanted in your mid-palatal suture.
- Implant-supported palate expander – This type of expander is reserved for teens and adults, applying force to implants rather than the natural teeth of the patient
What to Expect when Expanding the Upper Jaw
An upper jaw expander should not cause any long-term pain or discomfort to any patient. In general, much like any dental appliance, there is an adjustment period that includes:
- Raw feeling on the roof of the mouth
- Bad breath from trapped food debris or plaque
These side effects are temporary and should not cause worry. The length of treatment depends on the patient’s age, the severity of the condition being treated, and the progress made. For children whose teeth and bones are still developing, it’s not unheard of to only need an expander for a month or two. Adults with more developed bones will likely need much longer treatment, up to a year or longer. The severity of the situation impacts the time even more, and a dentist will be able to depict more accurately how long it will take to reach the desired results.
Call Greenwood Dental for More Insight
Greenwood Dental is happy to answer any questions about jaw expansion, the type of expanders, and if and when someone requires this type of treatment. Call 855.528.3961 today to make the first appointment to keep your child from requiring invasive oral surgery later in life or fix the lifelong struggle of misalignment, teeth crowding, or dental pain and discomfort. We look forward to your call.