Expansion in Wakefield and Westerly, RI

Improve Your Jaw Alignment With Expansion

Have you started to notice your child’s teeth are misaligned or crowding? By leaving this alone, it can become difficult for your child to do the basic functionality such as speaking and eating. At DeQuattro Orthodontics, we’re here to help your child get the care they need. 

We’re proud to offer palatal expansion to help prevent your child’s teeth from crowding and misaligning more. Read on to learn more about palatal expansion and what our treatment can do for your child.

What Is Palatal Expansion?

A palatal expansion is an appliance that gradually widens your child’s jaw and palate. While there may be some minor teeth movement, the goal of the expansion is to broaden the upper jaw. This expansion occurs when the growth plate or suture in the middle of the palate is stretched and the two halves are pushed apart.

The expander works by pushing against the teeth and the palatal tissue. As the two halves are pushed apart, a new bone is added to the center of your palate. The expander may be in place for a few months to more than a year.

Benefits of Palatal Expansion

There are many benefits to your child receiving the expansion. This treatment can fix:

  • Misaligned bites (over, under, open, or crossbites)
  • Difficulty in chewing, speaking, sleeping, or breathing
  • Impacted teeth
  • Crowding

Who Qualifies for an Expansion?

Expansions are recommended for children whose jawbones are still growing and developing. The average age during this growing period is seven to 10 years old. This is the ideal time to start the process as the jawbone is still developing and would be receptive to the treatment.

Patients who have already had their jawbone grown and developed may require TADS or surgery in addition to expanders. 

The Palatal Expansion Process

The first thing is scheduling an appointment at our Wakefield or Westerly office. During your appointment, Dr. DeQuattro will evaluate your child’s mouth and oral health to determine if your child qualifies for the treatment. Once he deems it necessary, he’ll begin the process.

The expanders are placed on the upper jaw by attaching them to the back molars. This appliance has a screw mechanism in the center that’ll expand with a special key. Each turn widens the expander very slightly, gradually stretching the growth plate in the roof of your mouth.

Your child may feel pressure against their teeth and behind their nose. Some patients may experience a temporary headache. You may notice a temporary increase in the amount of saliva and may make slurping sounds. This can take a few days to get used to.

After a few days or a week, you should begin to notice a space developing between your child’s front teeth. This is a good sign that means the expander is working. This space will close a bit on its own after you stop the turns and will be fully closed by braces.

Caring for Your Expanders

To ensure your child gets the care they need, Dr. DeQuattro recommends following the instructions:

  • Performs the turns as prescribed
  • Brush your expander when you brush your teeth
  • Swish or use a small brush to remove food from the above the expander
  • If you have a removable expander, brush and rinse it each time it’s removed

Frequently Asked Questions

What food should I avoid while on expanders?
What happens if the expander breaks?

What food should I avoid while on expanders?

Your diet will be similar to when you have braces. Dr. DeQuattro recommends avoiding these foods as they can break your expanders:

  • Sticky and chewy foods like candies and chewing gums
  • Hard and crunchy foods like popcorn and nuts

As an alternative, we recommend switching to soft foods and snacks such as yogurt and pancakes. To satisfy your child’s sweet tooth, we recommend ice creams and soft cookies (without nuts and caramels).

What happens if the expander breaks?

If the expander breaks, immediately call our Wakefield office at (401) 783-9890 or our Westerly office at (401) 596-2264 to schedule an appointment to have the appliance remade. In the meantime, completely remove the expanders from the mouth as they can cut your child’s mouth.

Get Your Child The Care They Need

Palatal expansion can help prevent your child from getting poor oral health. If you believe your child is in need of this treatment, contact us at our Wakefield office at (401) 783-9890 or our Westerly office at (401) 596-2264 to schedule an appointment today. You can also fill out our online contact form and our staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

Orthodontists receive an additional 2 to 3 years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align teeth and correct bites. Only those who successfully complete this formal education may call themselves orthodontists, and only orthodontists can be members of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Learn more: aaoinfo.org.

Request Your Consultation

Call us today at
(401) 783-9890 or (401) 596-2264
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