In the event that your teeth are currently highly crooked or very poorly spaced, your orthodontist may recommend that you have a lower tooth extracted in order to ensure that your teeth grow in properly and have enough space to straighten as they should. However, most people try to avoid having an extraction done due to the pain that can occur with such a treatment, although anesthesia is typically administered during this procedure to dull the pain. One alternative to having a lower tooth extracted is to use an orthodontic expander on your lower teeth. Understanding the role of orthodontic expanders should help you decide whether or not this type of treatment would be right for you.
Can Orthodontic Expanders Be Used to Avoid Extractions?
While orthodontic expanders are commonly used on the upper teeth for a variety of reasons, they can also be used on the lower teeth in certain situations. As the name entails, an orthodontic expander helps to widen the lower jaw in order to make enough space for your other teeth to grow properly, particularly ones that have yet to erupt. By shifting the teeth to make more space, your child’s permanent teeth will be able to grow in correctly, after which you can use braces to further straighten your child’s teeth. It’s important to understand that for this treatment to be as effective as it’s meant to be, there will need to be enough bone in the area to properly support the roots of your teeth. Although you may just want to go ahead with having an extraction done if it’s meant to remove one of the temporary teeth that your child has, an orthodontic expander is oftentimes recommended to be used in place of the removal of a permanent tooth.
Before you request this treatment for you or your child, make sure that you first speak with an orthodontist, as they will be able to help you decide if this treatment is right for you. Once you’ve decided to have an expander placed in your child’s mouth, it will take the form of a removable device that’s installed with the usage of built-in expansion screws that are tightened throughout treatment. When this expander is placed on your teeth, the bones and lower teeth in the immediate area will have a large amount of pressure placed on them. As you get used to an orthodontic expander, it’s recommended that you eat soft foods.
Benefits Provided By an Expander
There are a wide array of benefits that you will receive when making use of an orthodontic expander. For instance, these expanders can be used in the place of a tooth extraction, which may be preferable to you or your child. These expanders will also assist in improving your smile, as they allow you to get rid of severe orthodontic issues such as crooked teeth. An orthodontic expander is commonly used as an initial treatment before the application of braces, allowing you or your child’s teeth to expand without much pain.
When you select an expander for your lower teeth, your teeth will first be measured to ensure that they are an exact fit. Although a tooth extraction takes only 30 minutes or so to complete by a professional orthodontist, these extractions can sometimes call for the removal of a permanent tooth, which is something that most people want to avoid. While orthodontic expanders will usually stay on your teeth for several months, they will lead to a more beautiful smile and will allow you to keep all of your teeth.
Importance of Good Oral Hygiene While Wearing an Orthodontic Expander
In order for the orthodontic expander to work as well as it should, it’s important that you maintain good oral hygiene for the few months during which the expander is in your mouth, especially as this will allow you to prepare for braces after the expander has been removed. As is the case with braces, expanders can collect a large amount of food within the mechanism. If left untended, this can lead to the development of gingivitis, bad breath, and cavities. To avoid these issues, make sure that you brush and floss at least twice every day. It’s also recommended that you avoid sugary drinks while wearing an expander, as these drinks can have a negative effect on the quality of your teeth.
Wearing an orthodontic expander can also make maintaining good dental hygiene a somewhat difficult task due to the placement of an expander on your lower teeth. However, there are a couple of specialized dental devices that help to mitigate these issues. The usage of an oral irrigator allows for pressurized water to be emitted as a means of removing food and plaque from your teeth where a toothbrush might not have been able to readily reach. Make sure that you inquire about your current oral health each time you visit your orthodontist throughout the duration of when an orthodontic expander is placed on your teeth. By practicing good oral hygiene, you’ll be able to keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy, which will pay dividends for you in the future.
Call Papandreas Orthodontics to Schedule Your First Orthodontic Appointment
Dr. Samuel Papandreas provides expert orthodontic care for adults, teenagers, and children at his facilities in:
• Brunswick, Ohio
• North Royalton, Ohio
His patients are fitted with customized orthodontic devices that include:
• Braces – color-matching ceramic or metal devices
• Retainers – worn at night when your braces are removed
• Invisalign aligners – clear plastic devices
• Palatal expanders – worn before your orthodontic treatment begins
You can schedule an appointment with Papandreas Orthodontics to learn about the best type of orthodontic treatment for you and your children to improve your smile correct your dental bite.
Dr. Papandreas is a native of Cleveland. Born in Lyndhurst, the middle of five children, his parents moved to Lakewood where he attended Lakewood High School. Dr. Papandreas continued his education at Loyola University School of Dentistry, known as a leader nationally in clinical dentistry. He ranked #1 academically in his dental class for four consecutive years. In addition to the honor of Summa Cum Laude, he was awarded the Frank M. Amaturo Award for Highest GPA – Omicron Kappa Upsilon Fraternity, the Department of Dental Materials Scholastic Award, the Chicago Auxiliary Dental Society Scholarship Award for Highest Academic Achievement, and the Alpha Sigma Nu National Jesuit Honor Society Award for Academic Excellence.