If your child needs a palate expander, also known as a palatal expander device (PED), the oral appliance will cost a few thousand dollars. If you have dental insurance, they may cover part or all of the cost of the appliance. Third-party financing through CareCredit can also be used to pay for your child’s palate expander. Read on to learn more about palatal expander devices, including reasons your pediatric dentist may inform you that your child needs one.
What Conditions Will a Palate Expander Correct?
Palate expanders are common interceptive orthodontic treatments. Interceptive orthodontics includes all treatments employed while a child is growing, to reduce the severity of orthodontic conditions later in life. Interceptive orthodontics thereby shorten orthodontic treatment times during teenage years.
A palate expander is an oral device that is used to gradually widen a child’s palate (roof of the mouth). Childhood is the best time to expand the palate, as it is comprised of two pieces (maxillary bones), that are easy to manipulate. The two pieces will fuse during puberty.
A small palate prevents permanent teeth from erupting properly, leading to crowded, overlapping, or impacted teeth. A small palate can also lead to bite problems including a crossbite, open bite, underbite, or overbite.
If your child has an underdeveloped palate, they may also suffer from sleep-disordered breathing such as snoring or sleep apnea due to a narrow airway. Incidentally, palate expanders also provide some aesthetic value as they ensure your child has a nice, wide smile.
By widening the upper jaw, many common conditions can be prevented including:
- Crowded teeth
- Overlapping teeth
- Misaligned bite
- Impacted teeth
In preventing these conditions, your child may avoid:
- Gum disease
- Jaw pain
- Fractured teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
Is a Palate Expander Really Necessary for My Child?
If your pediatric dentist or orthodontist advises you that your child’s upper jaw is too small, it is best to proceed with a palatal expander device. An upper jaw that is smaller than the bottom jaw will cause a problem with your child’s bite that can last a lifetime.
Palate expanders can shorten treatment time with braces or Invisalign as your child matures. Treatment with a palate expander typically takes 6-12 months. The device rarely causes pain, though your child may experience some pressure as the jaw is widened.
Although palate expanders are occasionally used in teens and adults, it is far easier and faster to widen the jaw when a child is young. Having ample space for the adult teeth to erupt normally can prevent problems not only with alignment and bite but with your child’s self-esteem as well.
Award-Winning Pediatric Dentist & Orthodontist in Suffolk County
Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is a 2022 Dental Center of Excellence award-winning practice with five locations throughout Suffolk County. Our twelve pediatric dentists, adolescent dentists, and orthodontists provide complete pediatric dental care, interceptive orthodontics, and orthodontic treatment. To book a pediatric dental appointment, or an orthodontic appointment for your child, request an appointment at our location nearest you. For your convenience, Saturday appointments are available at select locations.