When considering your child’s smile, an orthodontic palatal expander is an option that may be more practical than braces. Many orthodontists are now treating malocclusions earlier than they did in the past. Family cosmetic dentistry in Lake County, IL begins when the child is still developing their teeth. In fact, The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have an orthodontic assessment no later than age seven. This allows the orthodontist to work with the child’s teeth and mouth structure while it’s still developing.

What is an Orthodontic Palatal Expander?dentist checks out female patients smile after using an orthodontic palatal expander

A palatal expander is a metal piece of equipment that fits into the roof of your mouth. A metal wire attaches to both sides of the upper part of the jaw and is anchored to the teeth. A key can adjust the expander allowing the orthodontist to expand the jaw more in time.

What is a Palatal Expander Used For?

The orthodontic palate expander is used to align the top and bottom jaws together. For example, the expander pushes out the upper jaw, making it wider, therefore, helping the teeth to line up with the bottom teeth. 

This procedure is not as unusual at it seems because children who haven’t gone through puberty yet have a flexible jawline. The upper and lower jawbones haven’t completely fused together yet, which allows this procedure to be effective.

What Types of Conditions Require the Use of a Palatal Expander?

The three primary conditions for which a palatal expander is most helpful include:


When the upper jaw and lower jaw don’t fit evenly together because the upper jaw is more narrow, then the bite won’t be even. The back top teeth won’t line up with the bottom back teeth. Instead, the bite will be on the inside part of the teeth.

Overcrowded teeth

If the orthodontist notices that a child is having overcrowding issues with his or her teeth, then it’s beneficial to have a palatal expander put in. This opens up space for the teeth to come in without any problems.

Impacted teeth

Sometimes a tooth needs more space to fully come through or erupt. When a tooth is having a problem coming in all the way due to another tooth in its way, it’s impacted, and a palatal expander can help.

How Does a Palatal Expander Work?

When you go for an orthodontic palatal expander in Lake County, IL, you will get a custom made one for your mouth. The appliance is fitted into the mouth and connected to the upper back teeth. A key, which fits into the center part, is used to expand the appliance a little bit at a time. Once it is expanded to the proper width, it’s left on for a few more months until the jaw is expanded. The entire procedure takes about 4 – 6 months.

Your child will have to get used to eating and speaking with a palatal expander, but the results are well worth the effort. Your child’s teeth and smile will look amazing after the procedure is complete.

Welcome to Greenwood Dental Care

At Greenwood Dental Care, you can count on getting the best dental treatment from our dedicated dental staff. In addition to dental exams and cleanings, we also offer several cosmetic and restorative solutions, too. Whether you need a smile makeover such as porcelain veneers, tooth whitening, or cosmetic bonding, or you need a smile restoration treatment such as root canals, dental crowns, or dentures, you’ll have the full range of dental treatment options at your disposal.

Now that you know the benefits of the orthodontic palatal expander, contact us at 855.528.3961 today for more information.