Four Things Every Parent Should Know About Palatal Expanders

Jaw extension treatment using a palate expander causes some discomfort and pain to children. But the long term good effects of the treatment outweigh the initial pain and discomfort.

As the parent of a kid with an orthodontic expander, I want to share some information about having a palatal expander.

  1. Children Feel Pain and Discomfort with Dental Spacers

The process of placing dental spacers before inserting a palatal expander hurts. Some children experience pain and discomfort for as long as two days after the spacers are fixed. Moreover, children tend to push the rubber bands with the tongue and knock them out of space.

  1. The Palatal Expander Causes Discomfort

The orthodontic expander is glued inside the mouth. It causes pain and discomfort in the initial weeks. Even after the child gets adjusted to having an expander in the mouth, certain activities like eating, brushing, speaking etc. cause a lot of discomfort.  Some children are drool excessively during the first few days of inserting the expander. The problem can be overcome, once the child gets accustomed to the device, though night drooling will continue for a long time. But be assured, the palatal expander does not hurt the child and if there is any pain or bleeding, contact the orthodontist immediately.

  1. The Process of Key Turns is Painful

The key of the palatal expander has to be turned regularly in order to expand the jaw to the desired size.  The process of adjusting the key can be painful for children because the child has to bend his neck back and it is difficult to turn the key.

  1. Children get Used to the Expander

After the initial two weeks, children gradually get used to the expander in the mouth. They learn to brush, eat and speak with the orthodontic expander in place. The parents can help children get quickly adjusted to the expander by helping them to brush and floss their teeth properly, sticking to the foods suggested by the doctor and avoiding sticky or chewy foods as recommended by the doctor. Parents can help the child to overcome the problem of lisp by making them practice certain exercises in consultation with the orthodontist.

Most children get used to the orthodontic expander in a short span of time. However, it is essential to follow the recommendations of your orthodontist and report any excessive pain or discomfort to the child.