Ridge Meadows Othrodontics

What is A Palatal Expander?

Posted in Articles, Orthodontic Treatment Options

What is A Palatal Expander?

Palatal expanders are used in orthodontics to widen the upper jaw (the maxilla), so that the upper teeth fit together with the bottom ones properly.


Palatal expanders are one of the most common orthodontic appliances used in young children. They can look pretty intimidating to both children and parents at first, and the idea of having to turn the key to widen it can be someone unnerving, too.

But you don’t have to be worried. Palatal expanders are quite easy to use, and after a few tries, you’ll be completely used to it!

What are palatal expanders for?

‘Palatal expander’ is a very literal name for exactly what these appliances do. In short, they expand the arch (or palate), in order make enough room for permanent teeth to grow in properly, and not be crowded in the mouth.

This is necessary in children whose jaw growth is not keeping up with the growth of their teeth, and is a fairly common issue.

How does a palatal expander work?

Palatal expanders are attached to the patient’s upper arch with bands, which are placed around the teeth, or with a plastic material that is bonded over the teeth.

At intervals prescribed by your orthodontist, the key in the expander must be turned, so that it widens the arch by small increments. Palatal expanders can be either removable or fixed.

Does Palatal Expansion hurt?

While the expander may feel a bit uncomfortable when it is first placed, palatal expansion doesnèt hurt for the most part, aside from the occasional feeling of pressure on the teeth and the roof of the mouth.

To learn more about palatal expanders and how to use them, contact Ridge Meadows Orthodontics today to book an appointment.

Book your No Obligation Smile Consultation today with Ridge Meadows Orthodontics.