Issue with a Narrow upper Jaw

What is a Palate Expansion and Who Is It Meant For?

When a child comes in for their initial consultation, an orthodontist will not only take a look at the current baby teeth and adult teeth coming, but also at the structure of the palate and how it’s growing in. Many issues can develop if the palate is not developing properly. The main ones include:

  • Impacted Teeth
  • Crossbite
  • Crooked teeth
  • Speech impediment

A narrow palate can be largely based on genetic predisposition, however, a child’s behavior can also have an impact on the development of their palate. Thumbsucking is the most common behavior that can develop a narrow palate.

Consistent Thumbsucking can create a pressure in the mouth that over time can disrupt the development of the palate along with the alignment of the teeth. Using a pacifier for too long can also have a similar effect.

Other than genetics and child behavior the third most common reason for an undeveloped palate is a facial injury… which can be more common than you think!

Now that we discussed the issues a narrow palate can cause and how a narrow palette is developed, we’ll dive into some treatment options!

Palate expanders

A palate expander is a device that applies pressure on the roof of a patient’s mouth to expand the palate. This sort of treatment works best for children 12 and under, while their jaw is still forming. However, there are options available for adults.

There are several different types of palatal expanders:

  • Rapid Palatal Expander

    A rapid palatal expander is an orthodontic device that is fixed to the roof of your mouth for the duration of the treatment. Throughout the treatment, the expander is gradually widened in order to increase pressure against the two halves of the mouth.

    As the two halves separate, new bone grows in to fill the gap. This is the most common treatment option since it provides fast and effective results.(Rapid Palatal Expander for Children)

  • Removable Palatal Expander

    A removable palatal expander is a device that is similar in fashion to a retainer and is a great treatment option for minor palate expansion. And as the name suggests, this is a removable device.

  • Surgically-Assisted Palatal Expander (SARPE)

    This is a palatal expansion option that is effective for adults. As the name implies, this expander is surgically implanted on the roof of the mouth to effectively separate a fully developed palate and allow new bone to grow in by applying pressure directly to the maxillary bone.

  • Implant-Supported Palatal Expanders (Also Known as Miniscrew Assisted Rapid Palatal Expander, MARPE, or Maxillary Skeletal Expander, MSE)

    This is another palatal expansion option available for adults. Just like the surgically-assisted palatal expander, force is applied to the maxillary bone, rather than the teeth to work more effectively for fully developed pallets.

Your orthodontist can help determine which palate expander would be the best fit for your child and their lifestyle!

If you’re interested in coming in for a free consultation for you or your child, click here or give us a call at 215-757-0864