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  • What is a Maxillary Expander?

    Palatal expander, expander, maxillary expander are all names for the same orthodontic appliance. Have you heard your child's friends talk about needing one of these? Are you wondering if your child will too? A maxillary expander is used to widen a child's arch before the growth plate in the roof of the mouth is fused. These devices are used to correct a posterior crossbite or alleviate extreme crowding.

    The device looks more intimidating than it actually is. It is attached to the the back teeth and a screw is inserted each night to turn it ever so slightly.  Over the course of several weeks the palate is expanded in order to correct the problems.

    Patients sometimes report feeling pressure on their teeth, in their noses or under their eyes. They sometimes get a headache due to the pressure. Over-the-counter medications such as Advil and Tylenol can help with any discomfort that is felt.

    Only your orthodontist can determine if you need a maxillary expander. Dr. Reagin will take a series of x-rays and do an exam to determine if one is needed in your treatment plan. They are not necessary in all treatment plans and using one when there is not a problem, will create a problem.

    Wondering what they look like and what a typical child has to say about how it feels. We filmed one of our patients, Hughston Reagin, after he had his expander placed.  See what it looks like and what Dr. Reagin’s oldest son has to say about it!