The body of a child develops in many different ways as they grow. Their teeth are no exception to this rule, as their baby teeth will eventually be replaced by their adult teeth.

The problem is that there isn’t always enough room for the adult teeth to emerge. This can cause problems with crowding, tooth misalignment, pain and a long list of unwanted effects that no one wants to experience.

While an orthodontist could extract these teeth from the child’s mouth, there are other options that can enable the teeth to be saved. Expanders are the most prominent option.

Two Different Tools for the Mouth

While expanders may look similar, they do vary in terms of form and function based upon where they are placed in the mouth. That leads to two distinct types of tools: upper and lower jaw expanders.

The reason that two different types of devices are used pertains to the fact that the lower jaw is fixed in size, but the upper jaw can be expanded before certain changes happen.

Widening the Upper Jaw with an Expander

Most upper jaw expanders will be attached to the molars of the upper jaw. This allows for the maximum amount of safe force to be applied to the bone, which in turn will minimize any complications.

The expanders will typically have expansion screws attached to them. This will allow the attached wire to expand, widening the upper jaw.

A side effect of this treatment is the fact that the front two teeth may appear to separate. This expansion can be corrected with orthodontic treatment if these teeth are already permanent teeth.

Understanding Lower Jaw Expanders

The way these expanders work is to correct any problems that may occur with the emerging teeth. They work to correct the alignment of the teeth by pushing them outwards, helping to ensure that they erupt in the correct way.

Although this provides an optimistic way of saving most teeth, the nature of the lower arch may require that some adult teeth need to be removed if there is not enough bone to support the teeth.

Effectively Using Expanders for Orthodontics

While expanders can both save teeth and prevent alignment issues, they must be used appropriately to ensure success. Upper jaw expanders must be used before the growth plate fuses, and lower jaw expanders should be used before permanent teeth settle.

To learn about how we can tailor a procedure, or to schedule a consultation appointment, contact Lach Orthodontic Specialists today.

Our experience and knowledge of orthodontics will work to help treat any orthodontic issues to ensure your smile is as beautiful as it should be.

Our offices are located in the Orlando, FL area. We look forward to speaking with you.