How Long Do You Wear Expanders For Teeth?

If your orthodontist includes a “palatal expander” in the treatment plan, don’t worry; it is not an alien device. It is used to fix crowded teeth. However, “How long do you wear expanders for teeth?” can be the first thing that hits your mind.

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    What Is a Palatal Expander for Teeth?

    A palate expander is a device used in orthodontics to fix the width of the upper jaw. It helps to make the upper jaw wider. Orthodontists use palate expanders when they find a problem with the upper jaw’s width, like a posterior crossbite or severe crowding.

    Crossbites are bad bites that need early correction. Palate expanders are usually used in younger children who are still growing but can also be used in some adult cases.

    How Long Do You Have to Wear an Expander Before Braces?

    Ignoring bite problems can cause pain and make your smile look uneven. It can also make speaking and chewing difficult and might mean needing lots of dental work later on. Wearing a palate expander for six to nine months before braces is an easier option.

    • Phase 1 Braces
      After wearing a palate expander for a while and turning its key each day, the expander stays in place to let the roof of the mouth adjust to its new position. Then, the first set of braces, called phase 1 braces, are put on. These braces go on the four front teeth to close any gaps that were made by the expander. After about nine months, all the braces and the expander are removed, and a retainer might be given to wear permanently or just at night.
    • Phase 2 Braces
      In phase 2 braces, people who wore palate expanders are ready for full braces. Wearing the expander makes it easier and faster to straighten the teeth. Your orthodontist will keep checking your teeth after phase 1 to see when it’s time for phase 2 treatment—whether it’s full braces, Invisalign, or just some small adjustments.

    Questions About How Long Do You Wear Expanders For Teeth? ?

    How Long Should Children Wear a Palatal Expander?

    For most people, a palate expander stays in their mouth for about five to six months. But most of this time, it is just for the jaw bone to adjust after it’s been widened. The actual widening process usually only takes about 21 to 42 days.

    A few things can make the process take longer or shorter. It depends on how much the upper jaw needs to widen and how often your child turns the key in the expander. If your child only needs to turn the key once a day, it’s best to make it part of their morning routine. They can do it after breakfast since they eat breakfast every day, whether it’s a school day or not.

    How Long Does a Palate Expander Stay in for Adults?

    If you have a narrow palate due to bone issues, a palate expander is needed to fix your bite. Braces can move teeth but not the jawbone, so adults with small jaws might also need them. Your dentist or orthodontist will tell you if you need a palate expander.

    For adults whose bones are fully developed, the process can take several months to a year or more. Even after your palate is widened, the expander usually stays in place for another four to six months to let the jawbone fuse and become strong.

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    Ending Note

    Orthodontic treatments are not only about achieving a great-looking smile. They are also about having optimal oral health. Every mouth is different, and that’s why the answer to “How long do you wear expanders for teeth?” greatly varies.

    Visit our second-generation orthodontist, Dr. Ash, at Leander Orthodontics. Our skilled orthodontist has worked with specialists in other dental fields with multidisciplinary and surgical cases. Dial (512) 260-5300 for an appointment.

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