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FAQ:  Orthodontist Palate Expanders

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Palate expander for 12 year old (girl) - did I wait too long? I was just told that my daughter, who just turned 12, will need braces after a palate expander because we waited too long to do a palate expander.

It had been suggested for a few years at each visit because she had a mild upper left crossbite, but she (and I) were afraid of it, not ready.

Now my child is ready, but we were told we waited too long, (only one baby tooth left), and were told the expander will cause the teeth to spread, and I probably won't like the spaces between the teeth it creates, and will now need expander and braces to correct that, since the teeth won't self adjust because we waited until she was 12.

Is that true? Did I make a bad mistake waiting? .... Visitor from TX

The use of orthodontic braces after the use of a palate expander, whether used to treat an overcrowding condition or an anticipated development of crossbite, is fairly standard.

An expander creates "room"....... the affected teeth must be moved into the desired positions with braces. It does not occur automatically.

It might be a good idea for you and your daughter to get another consult or two with other orthodontists or dentists who routinely provide this treatment.

It is doubtful you waited too long. Because of growth spurts that will likely continue for several more years, it is sometimes wise to wait for the spurts to end before treatment is started.

There is not set rule..... each case is individualized, based on growth patterns.

We know of patients who were treated for crossbite..... only to have the crossbite return several years later.

Editorial Staff

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