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What to expect with your child’s palate expander

palate expander

Palate expanders are a common orthodontic appliance used to correct various bite problems and create more space for permanent teeth to grow in. In this article, we will explore what parents can expect when their child receives a palate expander and answer some common questions related to this treatment.

What is a palate expander?

A palate expander is a dental appliance used to widen the upper jaw. It is typically used to treat crossbites, crowding, and other orthodontic problems that require more space in the mouth. Palate expanders work by applying gentle pressure to the upper jaw, which gradually widens the arch over time.

There are different types of palate expanders available, including removable and fixed options.

Is a palate expander really necessary?

A palate expander may be necessary for children who have orthodontic issues that cannot be corrected with braces alone. Some common problems that may require a palate expander include crossbites, narrow dental arches, and impacted teeth.

Without treatment, these issues can lead to further dental problems down the line, such as gum disease, tooth decay, and even speech problems. Therefore, it is important to consult with an orthodontist to determine whether a palate expander is necessary for your child’s oral health.

What is the best age to get a palate expander?

Timing is an important consideration when it comes to getting a palate expander. Generally, children between the ages of 8 and 14 are good candidates for this treatment, as this is when the upper jaw is still developing and is therefore more receptive to expansion.

The exact age range will vary depending on the child’s individual needs and growth patterns, and it is important to consult with an orthodontist to determine the best course of action. Factors such as the severity of the orthodontic issue, the child’s overall health, and the presence of permanent teeth can all affect the decision.

What are the disadvantages of palatal expanders?

While palate expanders can be effective in correcting various orthodontic problems, there are some potential drawbacks to consider. One of the most common is an adjustment period during which the child may experience discomfort, soreness, or even pain as they get used to the appliance.

Additionally, some children may experience speech difficulties or have trouble eating certain foods during the treatment period. Proper maintenance and care of the expander is also important. It is important to ensure it is functioning properly and to prevent any oral health issues.

What is the average cost of a palate expander?

The cost of a palate expander can vary widely depending on factors such as the type of expander used, the length of treatment, and the location of the orthodontist’s office. Generally, the cost of a palate expander ranges from $2,000 to $3,000.

It is important to check with your orthodontist to determine the specific cost for your child’s treatment. Insurance coverage may also vary depending on your plan. So, be sure to check with your provider to see what costs may be covered. Some offices may also offer payment plans or financing options to help make treatment more affordable.

Is there an alternative to an expander?

While palate expanders can be an effective treatment for certain orthodontic issues, there may be alternative treatments. For example, tooth extraction may be recommended in cases where the teeth are overcrowded and there is not enough space in the mouth to accommodate all of them.

It is important to discuss all treatment options with your orthodontist. That way, you will be able to determine the best course of action for your child.

How long does a palate expander stay in?

The length of treatment with a palate expander can vary but it is typically between 3-12 months. Clearly, the severity of the orthodontic issue and the child’s individual needs will need to be considered. Your orthodontist will be able to give you a better idea on the timeline for your specific case.

Once the treatment is complete, the expander will need to be removed by the orthodontist. This is typically a painless process and does not require any anesthesia.

Is it hard to speak with a palate expander in?

It is normal for a child to experience some speech difficulties when first getting a palate expander. However, most children adjust to the appliance within a few days to a week.

To help with the adjustment period, it may be helpful to:

  • practice speaking with the expander in
  • read aloud
  • avoid sticky or hard foods that may get caught in the appliance


In conclusion, a palate expander can be an effective treatment option for correcting various orthodontic issues. It is important to consult with an orthodontist to determine the best course of action for your child.

It is normal for some adjustment period and there may be difficulty speaking or eating certain foods during treatment. Lastly, alternative treatments should also be discussed with an orthodontist.

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