Improve Your Child’s Orthodontic Future with Phase I Treatment
Have you started to notice your child’s teeth are misaligned or crowded? By ignoring these issues, it can become difficult for your child to perform basic functions such as speaking and eating. At DeQuattro Orthodontics, we’re here to help your child get the care they need!
We’re proud to office palatal expansion to help prevent further crowding and/or misaligning of your child’s teeth. Read on to learn more about palatal expansion, and what our treatment can do for your child.
What is A Palate Expander?
A palate expander is an appliance that helps to gently grow your child’s upper jaw and palate. While there may be some minor teeth movement, the goal of the expansion is to broaden the upper arch. This expansion occurs when the growth plate or suture in the middle of the palate is smoothly stretched, and the two halves are pushed apart.
The expander works by pushing softly against the teeth and the palatal tissue. As the two halves are pushed apart, new bone grows to fill in the minimal space created in the center of your child’s palate. With compliance from you and your child, this process will take approximately 12 months to complete..
Benefits of Phase I Treatment
There are many benefits to your child receiving Phase I Treatment. A palate expander can help fix:
- Misaligned bites (over, under, open, or crossbites)
- Difficulty with chewing, speaking, sleeping and/or breathing
- Impacted teeth
Who Qualifies for Phase I Treatment?
Phase I treatment is recommended for young children whose jawbones are still growing and developing. The average age during this growth period is seven to 10 years old. This is the ideal time to start the process as your child’s bones are still developing and are receptive to this treatment.
Patients whose jawbones have grown and are near developmental completion may require TADS or surgery in addition to a palate expander.
The Phase I / Palate Expansion Process
The first step is to schedule an appointment in either our Wakefield or Westerly office. At this visit, Dr.DeQuattro will evaluate your child’s mouth, teeth and oral health to determine if your child qualifies for Phase I treatment. Once deemed necessary, Dr. DeQuattro will begin the process.
The expander is placed on the upper jaw by attaching it to the back molars. This appliance has a mechanism that includes a small hole in the center that will gently expand using a special key. Each turn widens the expander very slightly, gradually stretching the growth plate in the roof of your child’s mouth.
Your child may feel pressure against their teeth and behind their nose. Some patients experience a slight, temporary headache. You may notice an increased amount of saliva and slurping sounds may be more apparent. All of this can take a few days to get accustomed 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 Expander
To help ensure the success of your child’s Phase I Treatment, Dr. DeQuattro recommends the following care and instructions:
- Performs the turns as prescribed
- Brush your expander when you brush your teeth
- Swish or use a small brush to remove food from above your expander
- If you have a removable expander, brush and rinse it with cool water each time it is removed
Frequently Asked Questions
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 expander to avoid cutting your child’s mouth.
Get Your Child The Care They Need
Palatal expansion can help prevent your child from developing poor oral health. If you believe your child is in need of this treatment, contact us at our Wakefield office (401) 783-9890 or our Westerly office at (401) 596-2264 to schedule a consultation today. You are also welcome to fill out our online contact form, and our staff will get back to you as soon as possible.