Life With An Expander

Have you ever marveled at the engineering bridge designed to connect two points for easy passage? Now, imagine a similar bridge in orthodontics that reshapes your jaw and teeth. At Levin Orthodontics, we use self-activated palatal expanders. These devices help us remain committed to providing personalized and effective treatment plans for our patients.

If Dr. Levin has suggested a palatal expander for your child, it’s natural to have questions. We understand the apprehensions of our patients and their parents at our Sandy Springs and Marietta offices. What does life with an expander look like? How does it help?

What is an Expander? What Does It Do?

A self-activated palatal expander, sometimes called an orthodontic bridge, is designed to gently and slowly widen your child’s upper jaw. This innovative device is a testament to the advancements in orthodontic technology, offering patients a less invasive and more comfortable treatment option.

Children might need an expander when their upper jaw is too narrow compared to their lower jaw, a condition known as a crossbite. Other times, overcrowding might be an issue, with too many teeth and insufficient room in the mouth. In both cases, an expander can be a big help.

The expander is a custom-made device that fits over a few top teeth in the back of the mouth. It consists of two parts connected in the middle with a screw. The self-activated expander uses a unique mechanism that applies constant, gentle pressure on the palate. This pressure causes the joint in the middle of the palate to widen gradually, with new bone filling in the space. This gradual and gentle process ensures that your child’s comfort is prioritized throughout the treatment.

Don’t worry; this isn’t a do-it-yourself project. Dr. Levin will be with you every step of the way. Using an expander can be a comfortable and efficient way to help your child’s smile be the best it can be. Our commitment at Levin Orthodontics is to provide each patient with a personalized and effective treatment plan.

Dr. Levin shares information on almost everything you could ever want to know about life with an expander. 

The Role of 3D Orthodontic Appliances

In orthodontics, 3D printing has revolutionized how we approach treatments like palatal expanders. It allows us to create custom-made appliances, including expanders, that fit the exact dimensions of your child’s mouth. This leads to a more comfortable fit and potentially more effective treatment.

3D-printed orthodontic appliances are efficient to create. Once the digital model of your child’s mouth is ready, the appliance can be printed relatively quickly. This technology also allows us to use various materials, including different types of plastics and even metals, leading to more durable and long-lasting appliances. The precision and customization capabilities of 3D printing technology ensure that each appliance is tailored to each patient’s unique needs, enhancing comfort and treatment effectiveness.

Helpful Hints (Expanded Edition)

Getting used to an expander can take a little time, but we have some handy tips to make things easier. 

Keeping the mouth clean is crucial when you have an expander. Your child should brush their teeth as usual, but pay more attention to the area around the expander. A water flosser can be a big help in cleaning those hard-to-reach spots. Rinsing with water can also help remove food particles stuck in the expander.

It’s normal for your child to sound a bit different at first. The expander might feel strange in the mouth and change how some words sound. But don’t worry. With some practice and patience, your child will speak normally again. Reading aloud or singing their favorite songs can speed things up.

Eating with an expander might feel strange. We suggest starting with soft foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, or pasta. As your child gets used to the expander, they can start eating their usual foods again. But remember, sticky or hard foods should be avoided as they can interfere with the expander.

Feeling a bit of pressure or discomfort is normal, especially after the expander is adjusted. Over-the-counter pain relievers and sticking to soft foods can help with this. If your child continues to feel uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to call us at Levin Orthodontics.

It’s important to check in with your child about how they feel about their expander. This can help you spot any issues early on and make the whole experience more comfortable for your child.

While it might take some time to get used to, living with an expander is just a temporary phase. Your child will adjust to their new oral appliance with some care and a positive attitude. And the reward – a healthier, more beautiful smile – is worth it!

Dr. Levin shares information on almost everything you could ever want to know about life with an expander. 

Levin Orthodontics Is The Palatal Place For You

Navigating life with an expander can be a new experience, but remember, it’s a temporary phase leading to a lifetime of beautiful smiles. The use of a self-activated expander can bring significant benefits to your child’s oral health and aesthetics. By addressing issues like crossbite and overcrowding early, we can guide the growth of the jaw and the alignment of the teeth, preventing more complex problems. At Levin Orthodontics, we support you every step of the way, ensuring this journey is manageable and rewarding. We have two convenient locations in Marietta and Sandy Springs. Visit our website here to schedule a consultation. We’re here to help you and your child smile with confidence! Dr. Levin and the rest of our fabulous team can’t wait to meet you!

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