Did you know that starting orthodontic treatments at an early age can help optimize the results and make later treatments easier? At Reese Orthodontics in New Hope and Chanhassen, Minnesota, Dr. Karen Reese treats children as young as age 7 with specialized orthodontic care.

Early orthodontic care helps Dr. Reese identify and diagnose dental and jaw-related problems and start treatment early. One of the most effective treatments is the use of growth-modifying appliances, like palate expanders.

Dr. Reese explains more about how growth modification treatment with expanders could be the right solution for your child.

What are palate expanders?

Palate expanders are custom-made orthodontic devices that help create room in your child’s mouth. Before your child goes through puberty, their palate (the roof of the mouth) hasn’t fused yet. By using a growth modification treatment like a palate expander, Dr. Reese can widen the upper jaw to allow room for permanent teeth to erupt.

How do these expanders work?

Expanders have two sides connected in the middle by a screw. Dr. Reese attaches your child’s expander to several upper molars. It is not designed to be removed without the aid of your orthodontist. The expander comes with a special key that can turn the screw in the middle of the expander.

When the screw is turned, usually 1-2 times per day, pressure is exerted at the place where the two palate bones join. Over time, this pressure keeps the bones apart, expanding the breadth of the upper jaw to create room for adult teeth.

Once your child’s jaw has reached the target size, the expander remains in place but does not require the screw to be turned. This allows time for new bone to form at the junction of the palates, stabilizing the expansion.

What benefits do expanders offer?

The most obvious benefit of palate expanders is that they widen your child’s jaw. This creates room for more teeth, helping to reduce crowding as larger, permanent teeth appear. A wider upper jaw can help prevent the need for more involved work, like dental extractions or impaction correction, when it’s time for additional orthodontics.

Palate expanders offer some additional benefits as well. These include helping to stop mouth breathing, especially at night, making it easier for your child to breathe through their nose.

What’s more? Expanders can help correct crossbite, a condition in which the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth. Correcting crossbite makes further corrective orthodontic treatments easier in the future.

The best part? Expanders are easy to use and typically take about 3-6 weeks of daily use to reach the optimal jaw width. When it comes to your child’s oral health, being proactive with growth modification treatments can make a big difference.

To learn more about growth modification treatments for your child or to make an appointment with Dr. Reese, contact one of our offices in Chanhassen or New Hope, Minnesota. You can call or use the online booking tool on this website.

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