Palatal Expander Device (PED)

Palatal Expander Device

Greater Hartford Orthodontics provides palatal expander devices services in Newington, CT. Call 860-667-8277 to learn more and schedule your appointment. 

Palatal expander devices, or PEDs, are an important tool used for early orthodontic treatment. Instead of waiting for the jaw to finish developing and then attempting to correct problems with orthodontic braces, early orthodontics (also known as interceptive orthodontics) allows us to influence the jaw as it grows. PEDs are one of the ways we accomplish this; they have the potential to reduce or even eliminate the time spent in braces when a child reaches adolescence.

Why Palatal Expander Devices Are Needed

The palate consists of two separate bones until children reach adolescence. At that point, the two bones fuse together. The purpose of a palatal expander device is to maintain or widen the existing space between these two bones to treat or prevent crossbite and crowding. PEDs may also be used to prevent facial asymmetries and improve breathing in children with narrow or high palates.

Your child can begin using a PED as early as six years of age. Because PEDs work with the existing gap in the two bones of the palate, treatment must start at a young age, before these bones fuse.

How Palatal Expander Devices Work

PEDs have two pieces that are each attached to the upper molars on both sides of the jaw. By exerting constant, gentle pressure, the PED pushes the two palate bones apart. 

You will be given a key that is used to turn a mechanism on the palatal expander device, which makes small daily adjustments that slowly expand the size of the palate. Children experience little-to-no discomfort from PEDs, but we do recommend making these adjustments at night to allow your child to sleep through any feelings of increased pressure. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Palatal Expander Devices

How painful is a palate expander?

Because palate expander devices take advantage of the existing gap between the two sides of the palate, there shouldn’t be pain involved, although some children find the pressure uncomfortable at times, particularly when first getting used to wearing their PED. Making adjustments just before bedtime is one way to minimize this discomfort.

How long do you wear a palate expander?

Every child is different; some may need a palate expander for up to a year, while others may only need to wear one for six months.

Do palate expanders help breathing?

Yes, palate expanders can help promote breathing through the nose in patients with high or narrow palates.

What can you not eat with a palate expander?

Children should avoid sticky and chewy candies. Hard foods like carrots and apples will need to be cut into small pieces before eating. 

Do you need braces after a palate expander?

Many patients do still need orthodontic treatment with braces after having a palate expander device, but the time needed is often shortened. PEDs improve the efficacy of braces by giving us room to reposition the teeth.

Call 860-667-8277 to schedule your appointment.