Palate Expander – What It Is and How It Works

One of the key factors why many orthodontists recommend receiving orthodontic treatment at the young age is the natural growth process of tissues and muscles. When someone receives orthodontic treatment in childhood, he/she can take full advantage of growth process when it comes to treating and preventing malocclusions. This is where the role of a palatal expander comes into play. It is a device specifically designed to help people maximize the benefits of orthodontic treatment.


Let us delve into the details to find out what is palate expander and how does it work.

What is a Palate Expander?

Precisely, a palate expander breaks the upper mouth’s bone. No matter how scary does it sound, it is true. This reason is why orthodontists avoid elaborating people how palate expander works. An expander’s job is to separate the upper bone’s cartilage and the jawbone to increase the size of the mouth.

The palate is the roof of the mouth that can enlarge with the help of a palate expander. Orthodontists use palate expanders to help people in their natural growth of mouth and, most importantly to prevent any malocclusion.

Palate expanders work excellently when it is about creating more room in the mouth, especially in children. As mentioned earlier, it gradually expands the upper jaw by separating upper mouth’s bone. It may sound terrifying, but done through a gradual process that does not cause pain that makes it tolerable.

It is worth noting that your palate grows in two halves, and it does not fully fuse together until puberty. This makes it extremely beneficial for children who are in their pre-pubescent phase. Fixing a palate expander help children create sufficient space for their teeth growth. Simply put, this orthodontic device works great to widen the upper jaw.

A palate expander is commonly used in three situations where maxillary expansion is required;

Crowding is one of the most common oral problems many children face when their permanent teeth start coming in. Dental crowding in mouth causes teeth overlapping. In addition, in most of the cases, teeth do not fit within the jaws. The condition causes teeth displacement and rotation.

Luckily, professional dental care services such as NYC Dental Orthodontics can determine the signs of dental crowding even before the permanent teeth of children come in. They know widening the jaw can help patients create sufficient space to prevent tooth extraction in the future.

palate-expander-02Crossbite is the opposite of dental crowding. Crossbite is when upper jaw of a child is narrow to accommodate the lower jaw. In this condition, the back top teeth bite inside the lower teeth. Luckily, your dentist can fix this condition by using a palate expander.

Impacted Teeth happens when existing teeth block other teeth that have not erupted yet. Expanding the upper jaw is one way to allow teeth to erupt properly on their position. It usually occurs with eyeteeth or canines located under the eyes.

Palatal Expander – Is There Any Right Age For a Palatal Expander?

A palate expander is effective when used at a young age. Typically, pre-pubescent kids use the expander before sutures close or grow. However, the ideal age of getting palatal expander is 12 to 13 years, especially for girls and 13 to 14 years for boys. However, that does not mean that children older than 14 years old cannot use one. The older children can have palate expanders, but the device may reduce their effectiveness.

Remember that if crowded teeth, crossbite, or impacted teeth are not treated or corrected timely, it may lead to some severe dental issues.

How Does a Palate Expander Work?

As mentioned previously, the palate is a bony structure and makes the roof of your mouth. There is a joint in the middle of the palate that divides into halves. This joint has to fuse during the fetal developmental phase of a child. If this joint does not fuse during this phase, it may cause cleft palate. Remember that full fusion of this joint does not occur until a child enters a puberty age.

Palate expander works like a car jacket that applies pressures to different parts of the vehicle. The orthodontic device also applies pressure to both the halves of the mouth by pushing the sides slowly to separate them. If it moves slowly, the upper jaw or palate gets wider while joints remain intake. New connective bone and tissues hold the palate sides firmly in the new positions.

After placing palate expander, the patient can gradually widen the device by tightening its central screw over a specific period of time. When they slowly push the teeth sideways, it widens the palate.

There is no denying that widening the palate has many benefits. Opting for reliable dental care services like NYC Dental Orthodontics can help you maximize these benefits. The dental care services help you broaden your smile and reduce the risk of tooth extraction in future. Palate expanders are undeniably an excellent orthodontic device that not only creates space in mouth but also help in breathing.

If you are considering having this orthodontic treatment for your child, contact NYC Dental Orthodontics at (646) 760-8028 to learn about the options.

Posted in

Lawrence Silverberg


  1. Amy Tkac on July 13, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    I’m sixty one. Is a palate expansion even possible?
    My orthodontist pulled four teeth when I was sixteen. Then three years later four wisdom teeth were extracted.
    My teeth are all straight but the arch is very small.
    Could anything be done?

Leave a Comment