At Ashcraft Orthodontics Jacksonville, we are pleased to offer our younger patients a chance to improve their orthodontic health early on in life with the help of palatal expanders. These appliances serve to encourage proper tooth eruption, jaw alignment, and oral function for children. Palatal expanders work by widening the cartilage and bone tissue in the upper jaw before the growth plates have had a chance to oscillate, making their position fixed. Your child could benefit from the use of a palatal expander if they have a narrow upper arch, which can create problems, such as overcrowding when the permanent teeth begin to erupt. To stay ahead of the game, schedule your child's initial appointment with Dr. Michael Ashcraft at his Jacksonville, AR practice.
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If your child has a narrow palatal (upper) arch, or if their lower teeth overlap their top teeth, they could be an ideal candidate to receive a palatal expander. A narrow upper arch can cause an improper eruption of permanent teeth, which can result in misaligned, overcrowded, or overlapping teeth. To treat this, a palatal expander is worn while the jaw is still developing to improve the bite and minimize the chance of future concerns that may require more extensive treatment. This treatment is more suited to those younger than 14 – 16 years of age because this is typically when the hard palate starts to fuse. To determine if this orthodontic appliance is right for your child and their concerns, Dr. Ashcraft will perform a thorough evaluation of their mouth, as well as take digital x-rays and impressions.
What to Expect
Palatal expanders are fixed or removable appliances that are custom made to suit your child's unique mouth and concerns. Fixed palatal expanders are typically bonded to the molars and attached with orthodontic bands while removable expanders can be taken out as needed. The hardware used to craft your child's palatal expander will depend on the type of expander selected. Because this appliance stretches across the upper arch of your child's teeth, there are numerous places where plaque, food, and other bacteria can collect if proper cleaning measures are not taken. A member of our team will show you and your child how to brush and floss appropriately. You may be advised to help your child complete these tasks since brushing and flossing can be difficult with an appliance. Along with proper oral care, it's also important to continue to see a general dentist twice a year for checkups and professional cleanings.
Your child's palatal expander will be created in a dental lab and sent to our office upon completion. It will be fitted to your child's mouth to ensure comfort and may be worn for around 6 – 9 months, but this can vary, depending on the condition of your child's mouth and teeth. After receiving an orthodontic appliance, it's important to attend follow-up appointments as necessary so Dr. Ashcraft can monitor your child's progress and make adjustments as needed to the device. While wearing a palatal expander, it's common for a child to develop spaces between the teeth. This is normal and often intentional to give the permanent teeth more room to erupt.
A portion of your child's orthodontic appliance may be covered by your insurance policy. A member of our team will contact your provider to assess your benefits and coverage. For those without insurance, or for those who have out-of-pocket expenses after an insurance claim is made, our Jacksonville, AR office accepts a range of payments, including low-interest medical financing. We are also proud to feature our own in-house financing to make ortho care more accessible and easier to afford.
A Healthy Smile For Life
Early orthodontic intervention can improve a range of issues and prevent bigger problems from occurring in the teen or adult years. With the help of appliances, such as palatal expanders, your child's jaw and teeth can develop healthily, which may improve the alignment of their upper and lower arches and teeth as the mouth continues to change. Dr. Ashcraft looks forward to providing Central Arkansas children with advanced ortho care solutions at his Jacksonville, AR office. If your child is seven years or older, schedule their orthodontic evaluation at Ashcraft Orthodontics Jacksonville by contacting our team.