• Blog >
  • Palatal Expansion Could Head Off Future Orthodontic Treatment
RSS Feed

Palatal Expansion Could Head Off Future Orthodontic Treatment

PalatalExpansionCouldHeadOffFutureOrthodonticTreatment

People mainly identify orthodontics with braces. But while they’re a major part of it, braces aren’t the only way this important dental specialty can make a difference in a person’s bite.

For example, orthodontics can help guide the development of a younger patient’s facial structure that could head off future upper teeth misalignment. The area of focus is the upper jaw and palate (the roof of the mouth) that jointly make up a structure called the maxilla. The maxilla is actually formed by two bones fused together in the center of the palate along what is known as the midline suture running from front to back in the mouth.

The two bones remain separated until puberty, which helps accommodate rapid structural growth during childhood. But problems can arise if the upper jaw is too narrow, causing a “cross-bite” where the lower back teeth bite abnormally outside the upper ones. This can crowd upper permanent teeth and cause them to erupt improperly.

Using a technique called palatal expansion we can correct this abnormality if we act before the maxillary bones fuse. The technique employs a custom-made appliance called a palatal expander that attaches to the posterior teeth of the upper arch. Expanders have two halves joined by a small screw device to increase tension against the teeth to widen the jaw. A parent or the patient (if old enough) increases the tension by using a special key to turn the adjustment screw a tiny amount each day. This may cause minor discomfort that normally eases in a few minutes.

The patient wears the device until the jaw expands to the desired width and then allows the bones to stabilize in the new position. This can sometimes create a small gap between the upper front teeth, but it often closes on its own or it may require braces to close it.

While palatal expanders are not for every case, they can help normalize development and improve the bite, and thus preclude more extensive orthodontic treatment later. But time is of the essence: after the maxilla has fused, surgery will be necessary to separate them and widen the palate. It’s important then not to delay if your child could benefit from this effective treatment.

If you would like more information on palatal expanders and other orthodontic treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Palatal Expanders.”

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

Closed

Friday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

10:30 am-3:00 pm

Testimonials

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "I don't find it odd to say that I felt like Dr. Gloria Stingley was more than just a "person" to me during my visit... she WAS just wow 💕💕💕💕, her being and conversation is so amazing along with her WORK....oh! and Yes ,😏 watching her take my tooth out was coooolll as ever.She gave my the option to watch what she had to do or not .Watching what she was doing was the best because i got the chance to see my problem become a past tense issue 💕 it was perfect... I'm going back for special procedure 😏... it will be more so on the pleasurable side💕💕💕perfect teeth!"
    -Krista Woods
  • "I was seen on May 24, tooth was broken off recently. During my visit I was offered to fill or to remove old filling or redo all. Filling was removed and redone. I am sooooo grateful for a stress free painless experience, professional service. Dr. Stingley contributed 100% to helping me relax. More than I expected. Thank you...

    I appreciate when Dr. Stingley allowed my input to decide which treatment after her thorough, accurate assessment and recommendations. This displayed to me her expert skills and ability to genuinely care and respect the patient’s needs and wishes. Superb!!!"
    -Kathleen Wright
  • "Let me just say that I am petrified of going to the dentist. However, I finally broke down when I could no longer take the pain of my tooth ache. I called several places that day and no one could get me in. I stumbled up Carter-Rockbridge and the receptionist (Stacy) could hear the pain my voice and somehow was able to squeeze me in that day. The whole staff was very accommodating and helped ease my fear. Their customer service is really amazing!"
    -Monica Blackmon