7 Facts To Know About Orthodontic Expander

When talking about orthodontics, a common thought that is likely to occur in your mind is braces. However, apart from using braces, there other orthodontic treatments that can be used to improve teeth alignment and help you have a more beautiful smile. One of such treatments is an orthodontic expander. An orthodontic expander is more commonly used in children between five to sixteen years of age. The primary purpose of the device is to widen the maxilla (upper jaw) in children so that the upper teeth fit together with lower ones properly. The use of this orthodontic device is usually followed by braces that are used to straighten teeth after the room has been created by the expander. To know about this orthodontic device, take a look at the interesting guide listed below.

#1: What is an orthodontic expander used for?

An orthodontic expander, also known as a palatal expander or rapid maxillary expansion appliance is a device used to widen the roof or palate of the mouth to make enough room for permanent teeth to grow so that they do not become crowded in the mouth. Teeth that are crowded in the mouth often lack space in-between them causing to grow crooked or overlap each other. The expander is also used to widen the upper palate to treat bite alignment usually caused due to improper fitting of the upper and lower jaw.

#2: How does it work?

The expander is a custom-made orthodontic appliance that fits at the roof of the mouth (near the palate) between the rows of back teeth. After it has been placed, it needs to be tensioned with a special key at intervals by the orthodontist to widen the arch in small increments.

Generally, right and left halves of a child’s upper jaw do not knit together until sometime after puberty. Until then, the upper jaw is soft and can be easily manipulated. When tension is applied, the expander gently moves the bone apart and cause new bone tissues to fill in space naturally.

The process of tightening the expander every day is done for a few weeks causing the spacing to improve dramatically. The appliance is left on for several weeks more to stabilize the expansion. A child may wear the expander for about 3- 6 months after which he or she may have to use a set of braces if required.

#3: What are different types of palatal expanders?

There are basically two types of dental expanders- removable and fixed

1: Removable – This type is usually suitable for early to mid primary school-age children.

2: Fixed: Suitable for teenagers and young adults, this type of expanders are available in three designs to make it easier and effective.

  • Hyrax type: In this type of fixed expander, the orthodontist can control the amount of expansion using and expander key.
  • Superscrew type: Apart from allowing the orthodontist to manage the amount of expansion using a larger expander key, this of expander also allows teens and young adults to turn the expander themselves.
  • Quad helix type: This type of fixed expander is usually used by orthodontist when a combination of expander treatment and movement of back teeth is required.

#4: Does an expander affect speaking and eating?

Speaking with expanders

The first week or two after fitting the appliance is usually considered the adaptation period to get used to the initial speech changes along with the changes in the perceptions by the tongue. It is noted that that children and teenagers usually adapt better to the changes than adults. The most common speech changes noticed are those that are more pronounced with the ‘th’ and ‘s’ sounds. However, after the first or second follow-up adjustment, the speech changes are significantly gone.

Eating with Expanders

Brushing and cleaning teeth with the expander usually takes more time. Therefore, avoiding sticky sweet food like cakes, confectionaries, caramel, biscuits is highly recommended to make teeth cleaning easier.

#5: Is there an age- limit for using expanders?

If you looking to widen your narrow upper jaw, taking the expander treatment during the early teenage years is highly recommended. However, if you an adult and are considering to go for an expander treatment for widening your upper jaw, you may require this treatment to be combined with a jaw surgery for the treatment to be successful. Consulting your orthodontist can be highly beneficial in helping you know more about the treatment options according to your age.

#6: What are the benefits of orthodontic expander?

  • · Correct problems with bite: the problem of crossbite usually occurs when the top teeth at the back bit inside ( instead of outside) the bottom teeth
  • · Expands the upper jaw: Expanding the upper helps prevent conditions such as crowding caused when the jaw is incapable of accommodating all teeth.
  • · Impacted Teeth: Using an expander helps make room in a crowded upper jaw and allows the new teeth to erupt.
  • · Lesser braces time: Using the expander considerably decreases the time of having to wear braces, giving kids and teenagers all the reason to smile.

#7: What Oral care habits are required to be followed with expanders?

Children or adults wearing expanders are required to follow a good oral care routine for good results. Apart from brushing and flossing every day, using cleaning aides designed to keep their teeth and expander should be used regularly. Since food and debris often get stuck beneath an expander, using a water jet or a special syringe designed to gush out water beneath the expander to get rid of the debris. In addition, using a flexible palate cleaner can also help remove all the food debris and excess material that are left underneath the expander.

An orthodontic expander is an appliance that works with natural growth patterns of your child’s mouth, offering great results. It can be a great boon for all those have a narrow jaw, have bite problems or wish to have a better-looking smile. However, consulting your orthodontist to determine if a palate expander can benefit you can go a long way in helping you give you that beautiful smile you had always wanted.


Are you looking to expand the width of your mouth? If so, an orthodontic expander may be right for you. Expanders are used by dentists and orthodontists to widen a patient’s jaws or mouth in order to get braces onto teeth more easily. This blog post will discuss what they are, how they work, who needs them, as well as some alternatives that can achieve the same effect without surgery.

Does an expander hurt?

An expander does not typically hurt to take out, but it can be uncomfortable and even painful for a patient. It is important that your dentist or orthodontist knows how you feel about pain before they start the procedure. There are several different ways to make patients more comfortable with an expander inserted in their mouth- from using a numbing gel, taking breaks between inserting rods, and having music on while doing this part of the process.

The type of discomfort varies depending on whether someone has had previous dental work done like fillings performed because expansion will push against them as well as force teeth apart which might cause some irritation around the tooth roots. This means that those who have never had any dental work may experience less discomfort than those who have.

What is the best age to get a palate expander?

Typically, a palate expander is recommended for infants and children. When doing this procedure on an infant or child with no teeth yet- the dentist will place a tube in their mouth to allow them to suck fluids through it instead of having anything touch their gums.

On average, most orthodontists recommend expanding at around age two because that’s when they’re old enough to hold still and have some control over what happens inside their mouths without too much crying or fussing. They might only need one palatal expander placed once during this time frame as well while other kids may need more depending on how fast they grow new bone tissue before getting braces put on later down the line. Every patient is different so each case needs to be evaluated individually.

How long do you have to wear an expander before braces?

The time it takes to wear a palatal expander depends on the patient’s age, how fast their jaws are growing new bone tissue, and where they’re at in terms of orthodontic treatment.

A typical case could take up to six months with one or two expansions done a week while other cases may only last from four-six weeks depending on these factors.

Typically, after an expander is removed there will be more space created between each tooth than there was before which can make getting braces easier for patients who need them later down the line too.”

Do expanders make you talk funny?

An expander might make a patient’s pronunciation sound different which can be hard to get used to for some people who are not familiar with this type of device.

It is important that orthodontists and dentists know how their patients feel about changes in a speech before they start the procedure because sometimes, an adjustment has to be made if it becomes too uncomfortable or makes talking difficult.

Do expanders change your face?

Expanders don’t typically change a patient’s face- they are usually inserted in the mouth and not close to the cheeks.

However, these devices might make it hard for a person to chew on one side of their mouth which may cause drooling or food coming out of that side if it isn’t corrected with other types of intervention like wearing a tooth guard.

Do expanders help breathing?

Expanders are typically used to create more space in the mouth which can help give patients a chance at better breathing. The device also expands the cheeks and this helps with deep breaths while decreasing saliva production- so it might have some benefits for those who suffer from dry mouths or drooling due to dentures, tracheostomies, or other reasons.

Do expanders give you a lisp?

A patient’s dentition or how their teeth meet can affect the way they pronounce words and this is something that orthodontists, dentists, and patients alike should keep in mind when deciding whether to get a palate expander.

Some people might not have any problems while others may sound as though they’re lisping more than usual because their mouth has been widened by an expander.

Fortunately for these folks- it’s possible to adjust pronunciation through other means like speech therapy even after getting braces put on later down the line if needed.

Are expanders worse than braces?

Some people might think that an expander is worse than braces but this isn’t always the case.

In most cases, a palate expander will only be used for shorter periods of time which can make it less painful and easier to deal with in some ways because there’s not as much pressure on teeth or gums at any given time.

However, if someone has had numerous surgeries done where their jaw has been widened then it may be more difficult for them to adjust after having an expansion instead of braces put on later down the line.

Palatal Expanders Vs. Braces: Which is better?

Both braces and palate expanders are effective at correcting dental issues but each device has its own advantages that other patients may prefer.

When it comes to choosing between which orthodontic appliance will work best for a patient, there’s no clear answer as both devices have their strengths and weaknesses in different areas such as comfort, cost, fitting time frame, speech changes during treatment etc.

The expander should be adjusted by your dentist or orthodontist every few days using keyhole slots on the outside of the expander tube (depending on what type you use). This can be done alone in about five minutes without any pain relief needed- just some light tugging until they feel comfortable with how tight it is.

If your mouth feels like it’s getting too sore or you can’t open your jaw as much when the expander has been adjusted then you should tell someone right away and discuss a different course of treatment to alleviate these side effects before they get worse.

The brace will also need to be tightened by an orthodontist every few weeks in order for teeth not on braces to move into place so that everything fits nicely together- but this process usually doesn’t take more than about ten minutes either with no pain relief needed. A small amount of pressure may be felt during adjustments, especially at first, which might make talking difficult but it shouldn’t last for long periods of time.

Both devices are good options for correcting dental issues but each one has their own pros and cons. If you want to know more about the different types of device, then this post can help answer any questions you might have.

How much do expanders cost?

The cost of expanders can vary from patient to patient depending on many different factors like what type you want, your insurance coverage, and where you live.

Some patients might have a lot of trouble paying for an expander because the costs could be close to $1500-2000 in some cases but there are other options that don’t require such high spending with alternatives being used as well.

It’s possible to get braces put onto teeth without having them widened beforehand which is something anyone with receding gums or overcrowded teeth may need instead.

This process starts by removing any extra tooth enamel before putting brackets onto each individual tooth so that they’re all lined up evenly before attaching wires/bands after this has been done too.

This is often a less expensive option for those who don’t have to worry about spacing issues or gums receding as much, but anyone with this type of dental condition will need extra care throughout the process.

The cost of braces can vary from patient to patient depending on many different factors like what type you want and where you live. The price might also depend on how old the person getting them done is- they’re typically cheaper when people are younger than 18 years old.

Can adults wear palatal expanders?

It’s possible for adults to wear an expander but they will need a consultation with an orthodontist first.

A person won’t be able to get braces put on without having their teeth widened beforehand as well, even if it is just a small amount of space that needs filling in.”]

An expandable device used in the expansion process gradually widens the upper jaw and corrects tooth spacing problems by means of gradual and controlled pressure applied over time. The most common types are: metal bands (least expensive), stainless steel wires/bands secured on brackets, removable plastic tubes called “paddles” or elastics attached to hooks inserted through holes drilled into each premolar or molar tooth. Palatal Expanders are also called “punch down” expanders because they punch the teeth together by means of a wire which is gradually pushed through the skin to widen it.

An expander can be used in conjunction with orthodontic appliances such as brackets and bands, or on their own without any other treatment besides periodic adjustments every few weeks. The device has two very different uses:

– widening spaces between teeth for adults who have enough room in their upper jaw but lack space due to an overbite (though less popular than braces). This type of expansion will not add height to the front lower part of the face as braces do;

– correcting misalignment (crossbite) issues before someone’s permanent adult molars come in (though less popular than braces).

An expander will gradually widen a person’s upper jaw to correct any spacing issues. This is done with the help of gradual and controlled pressure over time, usually through metal bands, stainless steel wires or elastics that are attached to brackets on each tooth in need of adjustment. The device can be used by adults who have enough room left in their upper jaws for teeth but simply don’t have space due to an overbite, while also correcting misalignment prior to permanent adult molars coming in which would later cause more significant problems if not dealt with sooner. Palatal expanders are often called “punch down” devices because they punch the teeth together via wire which is then pushed through the skin to widen the upper jaw.

How long does a palatal expander stay in?

A palatal expander will stay in for a period of time dependant on the patient’s age and how much space they need to correct.

A person who is younger may not be wearing theirs as long- for example, if someone was 12 years old then they could wear it for up to two weeks at a time before needing another adjustment while an older individual might have their device put in indefinitely with periodic adjustments every few weeks or so.”]

An expandable device used in the expansion process which gradually widens the upper jaw and corrects tooth spacing problems by means of gradual and controlled pressure applied over time. The most common types are: metal bands (least expensive), stainless steel wires/bands secured on brackets, removable plastic tubes called “paddles” or elastics attached to hooks inserted through holes drilled into each premolar or molar tooth. Palatal Expanders are also called “punch down” expanders because they punch the teeth together by means of a wire which is gradually pushed through the skin to widen it.

Can An Expander In Your Mouth Prevent Bad Breath?

Bacteria can develop on the back of teeth and cause bad breath. An expander in your mouth may prevent this bacteria from forming by widening space, which forces you to clean those parts of your teeth more thoroughly.


Your journey to a perfect smile may begin with expanding your upper palate to give your teeth more room to grow in straight and be more easily realigned. If you have a crossbite or other issues related to a too-narrow upper jaw, using a palatal expander might be right for you.