Palatal Expanders

Expanding your palate doesn’t mean trying new foods (although we want you to enjoy that, too). Instead, it has more to do with the shape of your upper jaw and top teeth. At Dietrich Orthodontics, we specialize in palatal expansion. Dr. Dietrich and the rest of our dream team serve patients around Canton and Alliance. Here’s how we approach palatal expanders.

What Are Palatal Expanders?

At Dietrich Orthodontics, our team uses palatal expanders to widen your upper jaw. Sometimes, your upper jaw is too narrow. Before we can fit you with other treatments, we must take care of your “palate” first. What are palatal expanders made of? You’ll find that your expander is composed of metal and plastic, custom-formed for your teeth and mouth. Our team will scan your mouth with the latest technology (no impression needed!), and the lab will custom-make the appliance for your mouth. It will sit comfortably over the molars in the back of the mouth. We use a small, specialized key to control the expander’s movement.

Each turn of the key incrementally moves the two halves of your upper jaw apart. It makes space for your new teeth. But even better, it also helps to correct the alignment of your jaw. The gradual expansion process is carefully monitored by the orthodontist to ensure it’s progressing as planned. This device is particularly effective for younger patients, as their jaws are still in a phase of growth and adaptation.


What Kinds of Issues Can A Palatal Expander Fix?

Palatal expanders are problem solvers for several orthodontic issues. One of the most common issues they tackle is a crossbite. If you have a crossbite,  your upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth. The problem? Uneven wear and tear on your teeth. If left untreated, this could result in more serious dental problems down the line.

But the benefits don’t stop at teeth. Palatal expanders can also improve your breathing. By widening the upper jaw, your nasal passages can also open up. This is a big deal for kids who may have breathing issues or even sleep disturbances like sleep apnea.

Lastly, palatal expanders can be a proactive step in avoiding more invasive treatments in the future. For example, without an expander, some kids might need tooth extractions or even jaw surgery later. By using an expander at the right time, these more severe treatments could be sidestepped.

Whether it’s fixing a crossbite, making room for a crowded set of new teeth, improving breathing, or avoiding future complications, a palatal expander can be a versatile tool in Dr. Dietrich’s toolkit.


When Might Dr. Dietrich Use a Palatal Expander?

Dr. Dietrich uses the right tool at the right time. While he often leans toward the Damon bracket system for many orthodontic issues, there are times when a palatal expander is the better choice. One such instance is treating crossbites in younger patients. Since younger jaws are still growing and more adaptable, palatal expanders can be highly effective in these cases.

Age and growth stage are vital factors in Dr. Dietrich’s decision-making process. He closely monitors dental development, especially around seven. He identifies any issues that might benefit from early intervention. Suppose he spots a problem like a crossbite or overcrowding. In that case, he may recommend a palatal expander to nip the issue in the bud.

Dr. Dietrich’s approach is all about timely and targeted treatment. He aims to use palatal expanders when they benefit most. Early intervention minimizes the need for more complex treatments later. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution but a carefully considered choice based on each patient’s needs.

Palatal Expanders

Advantages of Palatal Expanders

Palatal expanders offer benefits that align well with Dr. Dietrich’s patient-focused philosophy. One of the most immediate advantages is the correction of crossbites. By addressing this early, especially in younger patients, Dr. Dietrich ensures a more balanced bite and alignment. A balanced bite sets the stage for a lifetime of better oral health.

Another advantage is the potential for improved breathing. Our tongues are meant to rest on the roof of our mouths, and expanders offer a way to restore this “parking spot.” This clears the airway behind your tongue, thus making it easier to breathe through your nose. This is particularly beneficial for kids with breathing issues or sleep disturbances.

Additionally, using a palatal expander often eliminates the need for more invasive treatments later. Examples include jaw surgery or tooth extractions. This aligns with Dr. Dietrich’s philosophy of efficient and effective treatment tailored to each patient’s needs and stage of life.

Palatal expanders offer a targeted solution for specific orthodontic issues. As Dr. Dietrich advocates, when used at the right time and for the right reasons, they can provide significant benefits that contribute to a patient’s overall well-being.

The Damon System v. Palatal Expanders

Dr. Dietrich often leans toward the Damon bracket system for many orthodontic issues. The Damon system uses self-ligating brackets that allow teeth to move more naturally. This often reduces the need for palatal expanders, making it a go-to option for many cases. 

However, the Damon system has its limitations. For example, some crossbites are so severe that the most reliable way to treat is using a palatal expander first, then the Damon System in a second phase. That’s where palatal expanders come into play. These devices excel at treating specific issues like crossbites and overcrowding, particularly in younger patients whose jaws are still growing.

So, how does Dr. Dietrich decide between the two? It boils down to your age, the specific orthodontic issue at hand, the severity of the issues, and the most effective way to treat it. While the Damon system is often the first choice, palatal expanders are brought in for specialized cases where they can offer superior results.

Both tools have their merits, but their choice is never random. Dr. Dietrich carefully evaluates each patient’s needs to determine the most effective treatment option, be it the Damon system or a palatal expander.

Palatal Expanders

Palatal Expanders at Dietrich Orthodontics

Need more information on palatal expanders by Dr. Dietrich in Canton and Alliance? Go here to schedule your free consultation at Dietrich Orthodontics today.