If you have noticed something the matter with your child’s teeth, you may be worried that nothing can fix it. Jaw expansion, also known as palatal expansion can be the solution to your child’s issues. At our office, we can discuss with you and your child about how we can correct the alignment issues with orthodontic treatment.
When we diagnose a case of malocclusion, we measure x-rays, one of which is a view from the front of the jaw. We measure the widths of the upper jaw and the lower jaw as they relate to each other and as they relate to the head size. We measure the width of the patient’s jaws relative to that individual’s head size. Then, if we see that they’re skeletally narrow, we know that we need to widen the upper jaw skeletally.
One of the ways we’ll recognize this by looking clinically is that the patient will have what’s called a posterior crossbite. If a patient’s upper jaw is biting on the inside of the lower, we’ll know by looking at them that they’re likely to need a skeletal expander. If your jaw is too narrow, it can block your airway and make it difficult to breath through your nose. Jaw expansion, also known as palatal expansion is designed to enlarge the maxillary dental arch, and re-establish symmetry and balance between the upper and lower jaws. This will improve the bite and function of your jaw, and allow you to breath easier through your nose.
How Do We Determine How Much Jaw Expansion Is Needed?
At Orthodontists Associates of WNY, we always make sure to measure on the x-ray as well to clearly determine how narrow that patient is and how much expansion we need. If we notice that they’re not skeletally narrow, but densely – meaning that the teeth look as if they’re kind of tipped in toward the roof of the mouth or toward the tongue, we will use a dental expander to push the teeth into a better position.
If there’s crowding, we often try to create space by using an expander first, and then make those teeth straight with braces later.
It’s important to identify and address these issues as early as possible because these types of conditions will not just fix themselves over time. It can also lead to bigger issues down the line if not properly addressed.
If you are worried about your child’s smile and have questions about whether jaw expansion can help, please contact our experienced Buffalo orthodontists for a free screening and see if jaw expansion is right for your child. Want to learn more about the benefits of jaw expansion, check out this article by Colgage.