Life With An Expander

Imagine yourself as a daring explorer venturing into uncharted territories of Salem. Your mission: To navigate the narrow straits of a crowded jaw and create a spacious, harmonious landscape for a perfect smile. Your tool of choice: a whip, right? No way!! We love Indiana Jones too, but that would create way too many problems! 

The tool you need is a palatal expander, the unsung hero of orthodontic adventures. It may sound like a daunting quest, but fear not! You’ll have Dr. Cole Johnson leading the way. At Johnson Family Orthodontics, we’re here to guide you through the ins and outs of life with an expander.

Your Quest For Palatal Expansion

Have you ever wondered how orthodontists make room in a crowded mouth or correct a misaligned jaw? Enter the palatal expander, a real game-changer in the world of orthodontics. As its name suggests, this device is designed to widen the upper jaw, creating the extra space needed for teeth to grow correctly. It’s a standard tool at Johnson Family Orthodontics, especially for our younger patients whose jaws are still developing. 

The expander applies gentle pressure to the two halves of the upper jaw, encouraging it to widen over time gradually. This device improves alignment and paves the way for a healthier, more balanced smile. Whether addressing narrow jaws, overcrowding, or even impacted teeth, a palatal expander could be the key to unlocking your perfect smile.

Getting an Expander: The Adventure Begins

Embarking on the journey with a palatal expander at Johnson Family Orthodontics is a straightforward and meticulously managed process. We understand that each patient is unique and tailor our approach to suit individual needs, looking for maximum comfort at every step.

Our journey begins with a comprehensive examination of your child’s mouth. We gain a precise understanding of their unique dental structure using state-of-the-art imaging technology. This detailed exploration allows us to determine if an expander is your child’s best course of action.

Once we’ve charted the course, we create a custom expander to fit your child’s mouth perfectly. The expander is typically attached to the upper molars using dental bands. You and the doctor can adjust it through a small screw in the center of the device.

During the fitting process, our team at Johnson Family Orthodontics is your child’s dedicated crew. We make sure your child is comfortable and understands what’s happening. We provide detailed instructions on adjusting the expander at home, which involves turning the screw a tiny amount daily to widen the jaw.

While your child may feel slight pressure or discomfort during adjustments, rest assured that this sensation is temporary and typically subsides quickly. We’re always on deck to address any concerns. We can adjust the treatment plan to make the journey more comfortable.

At Johnson Family Orthodontics, we're here to guide you through the ins and outs of life with an expander.

Life with an Expander: Navigating the New Normal

Initially, your child might experience a sensation of pressure or slight discomfort right after the expander is adjusted. This feeling is normal and usually fades within a few minutes to a few hours. It’s similar to breaking into a new pair of shoes – a little uncomfortable at first, but soon they’ll move easily.

Your child may also notice differences in speech or eating habits. They might develop a slight lisp or find it hard to chew. It’s like learning a new language or trying out a new cuisine – it takes a bit of getting used to. These changes are temporary as the tongue and mouth adapt to the presence of the new appliance. Encourage your child to practice speaking and eating slowly to speed up this adjustment period.

One common concern is the appearance of a gap between the front teeth. This gap is a positive sign that the expander is working, gradually moving the two halves of the palate apart. It’s like watching a flower bloom – a sign of growth and progress. As treatment progresses, this space will typically close on its own.

It’s also essential to reassure your child that having an expander is a normal part of their orthodontic journey. Remind them that this phase is temporary and is a significant step towards achieving a beaming, gorgeous new smile. It’s like climbing a mountain – the view from the top is worth every step.


The Care and Upkeep of Your New Expander

Proper care and maintenance of the expander are crucial to the success of the treatment. It’s like maintaining a well-oiled machine – it requires regular attention and care. Encourage your child to brush around the expander, paying particular attention to the area where the expander meets the gums. A water flosser or an interdental (between teeth) brush can help clean hard-to-reach areas. Regular rinsing with mouthwash can also help keep the expander clean. It’s also essential to avoid hard or sticky foods that could damage the expander. Keeping your scheduled check-ups at Johnson Family Orthodontics will ensure the expander functions correctly and the treatment progresses as planned.


The Spoils Of Proper Palatal Expansion

The use of a palatal expander can bring about significant benefits. It’s like planting and watching a seed grow into a beautiful tree. Creating more space in the mouth can prevent issues like crowding or crossbites, leading to a healthier, more balanced smile. It can also improve breathing, enhance facial symmetry, and even prevent the need for tooth extractions in the future. While the adjustment period can bring about temporary changes, the long-term benefits of a well-aligned smile are well worth it. At Johnson Family Orthodontics, we’re committed to helping our patients understand these benefits and feel confident in their treatment plans.


At Johnson Family Orthodontics, we're here to guide you through the ins and outs of life with an expander.

Begin Your Quest At Johnson Family Orthodontics

Your smile quest starts in the heart of Salem at Johnson Family Orthodontics! Schedule a free consultation with Dr. Johnson today, and let’s expand our horizons together!