Early expansion for children is only done for a few reasons; airway concerns, narrow bone structure, severe crowding of the teeth or dental crossbite. Airway concerns are best addressed when a person is still young as the bones are mailable and the process is much easier and more comfortable than when a person has gone through puberty. A narrow airway can have adverse health effects like trouble breathing and poor sleep. Narrow bone structure can make future orthodontics more challenging and can impact the final outcome. If the upper jaw is too narrow to the point where the teeth need to be tipped in order to correctly fit over the bottom teeth it can leave the teeth in a more vulnerable position. Severe crowding can be uncomfortable for the patient and impact the functionality of the teeth. It can also effect the over hygiene of the mouth as it can create food traps and make brushing, flossing and overall maintenance harder. Crowding also makes it hard for new teeth to erupt properly, increasing the chance of an ectopic eruption. An ectopic eruption is when a tooth erupts improperly either from the upper gums, or palatially through the roof of the mouth. Dental crossbite is when instead of the upper arch is slightly wider than the lower arch allowing the teeth to fit nicely over the bottom teeth the upper arch is narrow and the upper teeth fit inside the lower arch. This can cause problems with the bite and functionality.
Airway concerns and narrow bones structure require skeletal metal expansion (MARPE) which will widen the upper palatal bone to create more room for the tongue, teeth and airway. Severe crowding and dental crossbite can be treated with with dental expansion, Invisalign or braces. If a patient doesn’t have any of the above issues, we plan for dental expansion as a part of full treatment once all the teeth come in.