Dental expanders are orthodontic devices used to widen the upper jaw or palate. By applying gradual and controlled pressure, these devices help create additional space in the mouth, addressing issues such as a narrow palate, overcrowded teeth, malocclusion, speech difficulties, and even specific breathing problems. At McKelvain Orthodontics, dental expanders play a crucial role in orthodontic treatment, contributing to improved aesthetics and better bite alignment and oral health.
Types of Dental Expanders
Traditional Palatal Expanders
These are the most commonly used dental expanders. They consist of a metal framework anchored to the molars and a midline screw that our orthodontist in Arlington and NRH, TX, can adjust. When the screw is turned regularly, it exerts gentle pressure on the palatal bones, gradually widening the upper jaw. This expander type is particularly effective for addressing narrow palate, crossbites, and crowding issues.
Rapid Maxillary Expanders (RME)
RMEs are a variation of traditional palatal expanders. These appliances are designed for rapid palatal expansion and typically require more active participation from the patient or their orthodontist. RMEs have a screw mechanism that can be adjusted daily or every few days to achieve quicker results. They are beneficial when a more rapid expansion is necessary to correct severe issues.
Removable dental expanders are designed to be worn by the patient and can be removed for cleaning and during meals. They are typically used in cases where less force is needed to achieve the desired expansion. These expanders are often used for young children who may not be able to tolerate the discomfort of a fixed appliance.
Conditions Treated With Dental Expanders
Correction of Malocclusions
Dental expanders in Arlington and NRH, TX, are crucial in correcting malocclusions and improper bite conditions such as underbites, overbites, and crossbites. By expanding the upper jaw and facilitating better dental alignment, these appliances help achieve a harmonious bite.
Speech and Breathing Problems
Some individuals may experience speech difficulties and breathing issues due to a narrow upper jaw. Dental expanders can help alleviate these problems by expanding the upper jaw, creating more space in the oral cavity, and allowing for improved tongue positioning and airflow.
Preventing Tooth Crowding
Dental expanders can be beneficial in preventing or mitigating tooth crowding. By creating additional space for teeth to erupt and align correctly, dental expanders reduce the likelihood of overcrowded teeth, which can lead to dental issues like cavities and gum disease.
Eliminating the Need for Tooth Extractions
In some instances, orthodontic treatment may involve extracting permanent teeth due to limited space in the mouth. Dental expanders can eliminate or reduce the need for tooth extractions by creating the necessary space for all teeth to fit correctly.
Dental expanders are a valuable tool in orthodontics, offering a range of benefits that extend beyond aesthetics. If you or your child has orthodontic concerns, visit McKelvain Orthodontics at 6505 Precinct Line Rd., NRH, TX 76182, or call (817) 427-0599 to determine whether a dental expander is a suitable solution. You can also visit our Arlington office at 4224 Little Rd., Arlington, TX 76016, or call (817) 572-4949.