Century City Smiles & Orthodontics
Dentists & Orthodontics located in Westwood / Century City, Los Angeles, CA
A narrow palate can make for numerous oral health and functioning complications, including tooth crowding and breathing problems. With a custom palatal expander by Shawn Saidian, DDS, and Tania Ohebsion, DDS, at Century City Smiles in Century City, California, you can take advantage of your child’s growth phase and shorten their future time in braces. To learn more about expanders, how they work, and how to care for them, call the Los Angeles office or book an appointment online for your child today.
Expanders Q & A
What are expanders?
Expanders are an early orthodontic treatment for children. If your child’s upper jaw is too narrow, they’re more likely to experience complications as their adult teeth erupt. Expanders can correct or prevent a variety of tooth alignment issues, including:
- Impacted teeth
- Breathing problems
Additionally, expanders can shorten the length of time that your child will need to wear braces later on.
It’s important to get expanders for your child at an early age because the bones in their palate have not yet fused together. This makes it easy for the expander to work quickly. The team at Century City Smiles creates your child’s custom expander and affixes it to several molars in their upper jaw.
Once or twice a day, you turn a screw attached to the expander that places pressure on the molars, causing them to merge outward. When your child’s jaw reaches its final width, the expander stays in place for several more months to stabilize it and allow the palatal bones to grow together.
Who should consider getting expanders?
The team at Century City Smiles frequently recommends expanders to children over age 5 but under 16 who have a crossbite. Crossbite occurs when the upper jaw is narrower than the lower jaw to the point that the two don’t fit together.
The team might also recommend expanders for your child if their teeth are overcrowded. Overcrowding can cause trouble when your child loses their baby teeth, and their adult teeth start to erupt. Overcrowded teeth are often more prone to tooth decay because they’re harder to clean thoroughly.
How should I care for my child’s expanders?
Like braces and other orthodontic devices, expanders require a little extra cleaning and care. You should make sure your child brushes their teeth, tongue, and the expander device several times a day, especially after meals and snacks if possible. If the expander collects hard-to-reach food debris, you can rinse it using a syringe.
If your child isn’t careful about biting into solid or sticky objects, they can damage or dislodge the expander. While the device is in place, they should avoid chewing on:
- Hard candies
- Fruit pits
- Ice cubes
You should continue to bring your child in for their six-month dental cleaning appointments and exams. That way, if a cavity or complication develops while they have the expander, the dentist can find and treat it early.
To find out if your child could benefit from a palatal expander, call Century City Smiles for a consultation or book a visit online today.