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FAQ:  Orthodontist Palate Expanders

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Expander changes face shape? My daughter is 10 years old and just had an expander put in her mouth.

She models part-time and I am concerned that expanding her palet 8mm will change the look of her face. Does the expander have a noticable change to a childs face? ... Visitor from NH

No, expanding will not change your childs face.

Hopefully she is having the expander to eliminate a posterior crossbite, which maybe causing her to asymmetrically shift to one side or the other. This is the only reason to expand at this time.

If she is not in a crossbite, then expanding the upper arch 8mm will cause some discoordination between the upper and lower arches. You can expand a child up to about 15-16 years of age, because the palate is not yet fused together.

So if her upper and lower arches are narrow I would wait until all the teeth have erupted before initiating treatment. This will keep your child to one phase of treatment, saving you money and her from going through unneccessary orthodontic treatment.

If she is in a crossbite and the upper arch is narrow, then broadening her upper arch will improve her facial esthetics.

Editorial Staff

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