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What's an Expander?

An expander is one of a number of appliances Orange County orthodontist Dr. Evelyn Maruko uses to create beautiful smiles!

A palatal expander is one of the most common orthodontic appliances used in young children. Arch expansion is one of the most common ways of eliminating crowding and crossbites in growing patients. Successful expansion requires that the growth plate in the roof of the mouth is not fused. This fusion usually occurs between 14 and 16 years of age.

Dr. Maruko attaches a patient's expander to their upper palate by bonding metal bands around the molars.

While their may be some initial discomfort, upper arch expansion is relatively painless with most patients reporting slight pressure and soreness on their teeth and in the roof of their mouth. This pressure fades within minutes.

To make the first few days more bearable for your child as they adapt for their new expander, you may want to maintain a soft food diet that don't require a lot of chewing. Examples include mashed potatoes, yogurt, pudding, ice cream, and oatmeal. A day or two after their expander is cemented, the expander will begin to feel natural in their mouth and normal eating will resume. It's important to avoid hard and sticky foods to avoid breaking the appliance.

Learn more about how an expander works by watching our animation! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact our office at 714.685.3890 and speak with one of our helpful team members!

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