Booth Orthodontics wants you to use your smile to draw attention to your face. You are worth a whole, beautiful smile. The act of smiling influences your biology. Your brain makes chemicals that promote positive emotions. When you feel good about yourself, it motivates you to smile more often. We love seeing so many pearly whites around the Homer Glen area. That’s why we’re here to supply you with everything you need to know about palatal expanders. 

What if you don’t like your smile? Suppose you’re a person unhappy with the way your teeth look. Someone in that situation might not feel like smiling very often. If you’re someone with a narrow jaw, you may also suffer from a crossbite or crowded teeth. When left untreated for too long, conditions like these can become problematic for your overall health. 

To rectify a narrow jaw, Dr. Booth uses an appliance called a palatal expander. It widens a narrow jaw to permit teeth to rest in their proper positions. Continue reading to find out how a palatal expander could help you! 

The Purpose of a Palatal Expander

Ever had peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth? Then you’re familiar with the “palate.” If the right and left sides of your palate taper too much, your teeth won’t have as much room to erupt and grow. The size of your palate must be proportional to the size of your teeth. And not only that, a wide palate compliments the symmetry of your face. 

Should Dr. Booth determine that you need a palate expander, he will apply it to the roof of your mouth. The expander exerts pressure on the palate via a key in the center of the device. Over time, the pressure eases the sides of the palate apart. As you wear the expander, the sides of your palate will gradually shift into a more even, symmetrical position. 

How Our Team Determines Who Needs a Palate Expander

Dr. Booth only recommends treatment options that a patient needs. Therefore, he will only suggest a palate expander if it will solve the problem. To find out who needs a palate expander, our team begins by scanning your upper jaw. Think of it like a blueprint of your teeth – it allows us to see the smallest contours of your mouth. Everyone’s mouth is different. So, we must tailor the palate expander to be unique. Just like our patients! 

Everything You Need to Know About Palatal Expanders

What Palatal Expanders Can Do for You

By now, you understand that the purpose of a palatal expander is to widen a narrow upper jaw. But you may be wondering about what advantages the expander provides. Beyond beautifying a smile, how can a palatal expander benefit someone? 

Oral Symptoms

The most obvious benefit of palatal expanders is the elimination of malocclusion. Malocclusion refers to the misforming or misaligning of the teeth and/or jaw. Malocclusions can include: 

  • Open bite: the top and bottom teeth do not touch or overlap when the mouth is closed
  • Crowded teeth: the teeth have too little space between them or insufficient space to erupt. 
  • Overbite: the top teeth extend too far below the bottom teeth
  • Underbite: the lower jaw sets in front of the upper jaw when the mouth is shut
  • Crossbite: some parts of the teeth intersect

Further Symptoms 

If left untreated, an improperly shaped bite can lead to more problematic issues. Malocclusions can make it hard to chew food, creating a choking hazard. Furthermore, asymmetry in the jaw often leads to painful headaches. Those afflicted by malocclusion have difficulty brushing and flossing their teeth. Consequently, they are more likely to develop plaque, cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.

But the consequences don’t end there. A link exists between malocclusions and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing starts and stops. It may manifest as snoring, but it adversely affects a person’s rest. Those with sleep apnea may report feeling tired, even after getting a full 8 hours of sleep. Even worse, malocclusions can have negative psychological effects on adolescents

Everything You Need to Know About Palatal Expanders

Enlist Booth Orthodontics for Help

Malocclusions can have several causes. These might include thumbsucking or using a pacifier for too long. Lost, extra, or uneven teeth can also cause malocclusions. But now, you understand that palatal expanders alleviate problems caused by a narrow upper jaw. You also know about the different kinds of palatal expanders and the advantages that each one offers. 

Palatal expansion can be a confusing and challenging process. You likely still have questions. Our team at Homer Glen would be delighted to answer and (and all!) of them. Dr. Booth’s passion isn’t just in the business of improving smiles – he intends to reshape your sense of well-being. 

Go here to book a free consultation. And by all means, bring your questions with you!