What’s the Role of the Expander in Orthodontic Treatment?
Often, patients ask: “What is an expander? Why do I need one? What does it do?”
I’ll highlight what they are, how they work, reasons people need them, what happens when they don’t opt for expansion, and the overall results of expansion.
What is an Expander?
The expansion device has small bands or rings that fit around the six-year molar teeth, fitting the upper roof of the mouth.
How does an Expander Work?
Usually Mom or Dad will help the actual expansion process, which they learn about at the orthodontic office. Here’s how it works: There’s a little hole in the expander and it comes with a key. You put the expansion key in the hole, pull backwards toward the throat, and it turns the expander once. It then turns a quarter-of-a-millimeter–enough to begin the expansion process. And, fortunately, you can’t turn it more than it’s supposed to. Most people don’t experience pain, but feel a bit of pressure. You do this once a day, depending on how much expansion’s needed. It could take three to four weeks or six to seven weeks to get the jaw where it needs to be.