A palatal expander is a common orthodontic appliance used in young children to help widen the upper jaw. Widening the upper jaw is indicated when there is a need to create more space for crowded teeth, correct a crossbite, get a better fit of the upper and lower jaws or to help with growth modification appliances. The expander works by widening the suture or “seam” in the center of the palate. When children get older the suture starts to fuse or “harden” and expansion becomes more difficult or impossible. This is why it is important to use a palatal expander when indicated in young children.
Adults who need palate widening would require a specialized surgical treatment performed by an Oral Surgeon to release the fused or “hardened” suture and permit widening of the upper jaw.
For more information on the benefits of a palatal expander please view the following video:
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