There is little information out there about orthodontic expanders. In fact, because the term is often used interchangeably with braces, it is easy to see why. We at OrthoWNY recognize the need to educate people about them. Therefore, our experienced team of orthodontists have compiled a list of the most asked questions and answers regarding children and expanders. Read on to learn more.
Does It Hurt to Get Expanders?
Children often have numerous questions and concerns when it comes to orthodontics. The most pressing of their concerns (and understandably so!) is: “Do braces and expanders hurt?”
Dr. Andrew J. Dusel assures patients that they do not. He goes on to say, “There might be a little discomfort for the first couple of days, while you adjust to the pressure on your teeth. However, I would not call it painful. It really is just a little pressure.”
Dr. Dusel recommends that patients take a little Tylenol or Advil on the first day, if they experience any soreness. From the second day on, it is smooth sailing.
If a patient has a narrow upper jaw, we first determine where the narrowness is. Is it in the jaw or is it in the teeth? If it turns out that the patient has a narrow jaw, we use an expander on the maxillary jaw. The maxillary jaw is incidentally comprised of two halves.
Studies conducted at the University of Pennsylvania reveal a startling relationship between periodontal disease and jaw width. If the difference in width between the lower and upper jaws is over 7mm, the patient has a 75% probability of developing periodontal disease. This periodontal disease typically has a midlife onset. It is therefore crucial to treat skeletal discrepancies or narrowness in the jaws as early as possible.
In cases where the narrowness is in the patient’s teeth, we use different types of expanders to move the teeth into a wider position. The expansion procedure requires us to work a little slower and generally takes longer.
There are some patients in whom the narrowness is in both the jaw and teeth. We treat such patients using both types of expanders, instead of attempting to accomplish good results using one expander.
We select the appropriate expander for each patient by first taking a radiograph of the front of the patient’s head. Subsequently, we physically measure the width of the jaws in comparison to the width of the head. Finally, we measure the width of the teeth in comparison to the width of the jaws and compare the results with standard values. This tells us which expanders will be most appropriate for the patient.
Are Expanders Removable?
The expanders we use in our office are typically glued onto the six-year-old adult molars. This is because doing so ensures that they will work efficiently. Our method allows us to have full control over the situation. In addition, it ensures we achieve the needed width. We use removable expanders only occasionally and for very specific reasons. However, the norm is to use expanders that can be glued into the mouth.
If you want to learn more or are interested in scheduling a free initial screening with our team of highly skilled orthodontists, we invite you contact one of our four convenient locations today.