Why We Use Expanders
Crowded teeth are a real problem. They look bad, they can cause chewing problems, they can cause breathing problems which can cause sleep issues, and they can ultimately cause facial asymmetry. Expansion opens up the teeth, which will open up the space in the mouth for breathing. Further orthodontic work may need to be done to get the teeth into their optimal positions, but the expansion ultimately reduces the time needed in orthodontics.
Expansion does require active participation from the patient. On a regular interval set out by Dr. Amelia, you will need to make a turn on the adjuster to increase the expander and the expansion pressure. Without making regular adjustments, no expansion will occur so it is crucial that you make the adjustments.
There may be some discomfort at first, but the adjustment times for prior patients has only taken a few weeks. You will need to be careful eating and should take out the appliances if you are eating any hard, sticky, and chewy foods.
Palatal Expanders: These expanders sit in the upper jaw and expand by putting pressure against the palatal sutures causing them to open up and fill in with new bone material. Once the new bone has grown in, the expansion becomes permanent. Expansion can take anywhere from 9 months to 15 months depending on compliance.
Mandibular Expanders: Working just like the palatal expander, maxillary expanders work to open up space in the lower jaw by causing the maxillary suture to open up so that new bone grown can form in the space. Maxillary expansion is more difficult since the bone density in the lower jaw is much denser than in the palate. Expansion can take anywhere from 9 months to 15 months depending on compliance.