Orthodontic expanders are known by many names such as jaw expanders, palate expanders etc. Palate expanders are used to widen the jaw and provide space for teeth to grow. The treatment is effective when done during young age as the natural growth in children is fast. However, some orthodontist prescribe jaw expanders even for adults.
Though most of us know about upper jaw expanders, sometimes the orthodontist may also use a lower jaw expander. Lower jaw expander is used when the teeth on the lower portion are crowded. The difference between upper jaw and lower jaw expanders is that while upper jaw expanders or palatal expanders, widen the gap between both the bones, the lower jaw expanders just move the teeth. It spreads the lower teeth and straightens teeth.
No matter, whether the orthodontist uses an upper jaw expander or the lower jaw expanders, there is some pain and discomfort during the installation process and the adjustment period. Since the expander exerts pressure on the jaw, the jaw may be sore and there may be discomfort while eating, brushing teeth and playing sport. Some children also experience pressure on eyes, nose and tongue.
Apart from the pain and discomfort, there are some side effects of using palatal expanders. Some of them are
- Headache due to the pressure caused by the expander on the eyes, nose and other parts
- Speaking difficulties during the adjustment period
- Excessive drooling because the expander increases the production of saliva
- Sometimes when the measurements are not properly taken, there may be extra gap in the front teeth
- Since the expanders is fixed on the palate, there is a risk of food particles getting trapped between the expander and the roof of the mouth.
- Children may experience trouble while chewing food
Most of these side-effects disappear after the initial few weeks as the child gets used to the presence of the device.
However, the benefits of jaw expansion using palatal expanders are far too many when compared to the setbacks. You can eliminate most of the side effects if the treatment is done by an experienced orthodontist. Choose a reputed orthodontic clinic in your neighborhood to ensure your child gets the right treatment with minimum discomfort.