How Long Does a Palate

How Long Does a Palate Expander Stay In?

Team Expanders

Most children will not need to keep a palatal expansion appliance in place for more than six months. Some children may only need to keep their palate expander for five months or less. Your orthodontist will confirm the expected treatment duration for your child when you discuss the treatment plan.

How Does a Palate Expander Work?

Palate expanders widen the upper jaw. Expanding the palate (roof of the mouth) during childhood is ideal, as the palate is still developing and flexible. The palate continues to solidify  until adolescence when it becomes much more difficult to expand. 

The palatal expander device will be placed by an orthodontist who specializes in interceptive (early) orthodontic treatment. The device looks similar to an orthodontic retainer that you might have worn after braces. Expanders are made of BPA-free plastic and metal. It will fit securely on the roof of your child’s mouth. 

A small “key” is used to operate the Expansion appliance. When the key is turned in the oral appliance, it causes the appliance to widen slightly, this expands the palate and allows new bone to grow.  

What Conditions Does a Palatal Expander Correct?

Palate expanders are used to treat a narrow upper jaw. In widening the palate, myriad orthodontic conditions can be improved and sometimes prevented including:

  • Impacted teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Overlapping teeth
  • Crossbite
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Open bite

In addition, palate expanders help children who experience difficulty chewing, and those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. A palatal expander device can also help break oral habits such as thumb, finger, or tongue sucking, all of which can lead to orthodontic problems in the future. 

Signs Your Child May Need Early Orthodontic Treatment

All children should see an orthodontist by the age of seven. However, your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist earlier, due to potential problems identified during a routine cleaning and exam. 

Other children may exhibit symptoms of needing a larger palate that parents identify such as: 

  • Crossbite (when biting, the upper teeth move inside the lower teeth)
  • Crowded, overlapping, or crooked teeth
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Speech problems (lisp, difficulty pronouncing certain words)
  • Tooth decay or gum disease 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a palate expander be covered by my dental insurance?

Many dental plans do provide partial coverage for orthodontic appliances, including palatal expander devices. Other plans may not provide coverage. For the most accurate information, contact your insurance carrier. 

Do you offer financing for interceptive orthodontics?

Andover Orthodontics does offer financing plans for orthodontic care. Talk with our front desk staff about options. You may also be able to use Medical Savings Plans or Flexible Spending Plans for interceptive orthodontic treatment for your child.

Book an Orthodontic Exam for Your Child in Andover, MA

If your child is showing any signs of a narrow upper jaw, schedule an orthodontic exam with Dr. Broccoli at Andover Orthodontics. Dr. Broccoli is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. His vast experience and skill in providing successful early orthodontic care are matched only by his friendly approach, which puts young patients at ease. Call 978-475-0450 or send us a message to request an appointment.