Rapid Palatal Expanders Widen Your Child’s Bite

Bite issues, or malocclusions, are best treated before a child reaches puberty, since the jaw and bite are more easily manipulated during early childhood. One way that Dr. David C. Spokane and Dr. Melissa R. Karski correct bite issues is through the use of a rapid palatal expander. This dental appliance is fixed to the child’s palate which gradually widens the roof of the mouth for improved bite alignment. For parents looking for bite correction and treatment for their child, a rapid palatal expander from Karski & Spokane Orthodontics can offer permanent results with minimal discomfort.

Rapid Palatal Expander

Close-up of a rapid palatal expander.
This appliance is fixed to the palate to gradually widen the roof of the mouth for improved bite alignment.

Benefits of a Rapid Palatal Expander

Rapid palatal expanders offer minimally invasive treatment for jaw alignment and structural issues in children. A crossbite is a common type of malocclusion where some of the upper teeth fit behind the lower teeth when at rest. When used early, rapid palatal expanders can stimulate bone growth and correct anatomical deficiencies in the jaw quickly and with minimal discomfort. By correcting a crossbite, patients can experience improved bite function and make space in the jaw for incoming teeth. In addition, rapid palatal expanders can help improve smile alignment and facial aesthetics. 

Does My Child Really NEED An Expander?

Candidates for Treatment

We recommend that children undergo an orthodontic assessment by the age of seven, to allow for early intervention for malocclusion issues. Treatment at an early age allows for conservative correction, whereas adults or teenagers must usually undergo an oral surgery procedure to correct jaw positioning. The most common candidates for treatment include children with:

  • A crossbite 
  • Excessive tooth crowding caused by a narrow palate
  • Impacted teeth due to insufficient space for tooth development

Dr. Spokane or Dr. Karski may also recommend treatment to improve smile and facial aesthetics, prepare for orthodontic treatment such as braces, or treat breathing issues such as sleep apnea or snoring, which could be caused by a restricted airway from the narrow upper palate.

What to Expect during Treatment

Before treatment begins, we will walk you and your child through the process, and provide resources that will help you understand the at-home treatments that will be required. On the day of your child's procedure, we will glue the rapid palatal expander onto your child’s upper molars, securing it to the teeth. This video, made by our office, outlines the procedure in detail.  Many children are nervous and understanding each step eases those feelings making the appointment fun and easy for children.

The expander will need to be regularly turned for the number of days determined by the doctor after studying models made from your child's teeth. Performing the turns creates the widening force that will slowly shape the expanded upper palate. A parent or guardian will need to turn the rapid palatal expander for the child. Children cannot do it themselves. 

For parents looking for bite correction and treatment for their child, a rapid palatal expander can offer permanent results with minimal discomfort.

To activate the expander, you will insert a small key into a hole in the center of the expander. Turning the key will create additional tension in the expander, and help to stimulate new bone growth. During activation, a child will feel pressure that lasts several minutes, but the process should not be painful. The video below illustrates how to turn the expander.

Once the desired width of the palate is reached, the child will continue to wear the expander for a few months to ensure the space created is lasting. During this time, braces are typically worn on the adult teeth to close the space created from the expansion process.  Once the expander is removed, the child will have a permanent, comfortable bite. 

Because children can get nervous about the removal process, our office has also created a step by step video of getting the expander out to calm their worries.

Schedule Your Child's Consultation

If your child is showing signs of a crossbite, or other bite issue, schedule an appointment with our team. Dr. Spokane has been in the private practice of orthodontics in Beaver and Lawrence Counties since 1994. Our unparalleled experience can give you peace of mind during your child’s orthodontic treatments. Contact us today to schedule your appointment at one of our six locations. At Spokane & Karski Orthodontics, you can trust that both you and your child will receive expert care. 

Karski & Spokane Orthodontics

David Spokane and Melissa Karski are committed to providing the very best orthodontic and dental care to valued patients throughout the state of Pennsylvania. We are affiliated we several prestigious organizations, including the:

  • American Board of Orthodontics
  • American Association of Orthodontists
  • American Dental Association

You can schedule an appointment at one of our six convenient office locations today by calling (724) 591-5758 or sending us a message. We will get back to you shortly. 

Contact Us Today

"Highly satisfied with my child's ortho procedure. The entire process has been seamless even with the pandemic. The website and patient portal is user friendly, but should you need to call the office for any reason, a staff member always answers in a friendly manner.  The Ambridge office is stunning, it's like waking into a super hero museum.  Everybody's favorite super hero can be found.  Dr. Spokane has a great chair side manner, upbeat and friendly.  My child was nervous at first but his fear quickly went away with the super comfortable atmosphere.  I recommend Dr. Spokane to all my friends and family." Cymone Bronaugh

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