Expansion: The Earlier the Better 1

Expansion: The Earlier the Better

Why should expansion start as soon as it’s needed?

Expansion is done when a patient has breathing issues or narrow arches or both. Narrow arches can be treated and resolved at any age with general orthodontics, however breathing issues become much harder to treat with age. When a patient has breathing issues it is most likely related to a narrow airway. The airway size is determined by the width the of the roof of your mouth (upper palate) which is a bone with a suture down the middle. This suture/seam in the bone begins to fuse and harden during puberty making it a much more difficult process to treat breathing disorders in older patients. Expanding early means a retainer must be worn in order to maintain the space created. The retainer must be worn for 4-6 months until the teeth on each side of the two upper front teeth grow in. This means the patient will be wearing a retainer at night for longer than if we had waited to start expansion but it’s important that the breathing issues are addressed now. The patient will also have a wide “grown up, adult” smile that they will grow into as their permanent teeth erupt. Breathing issues can have a big effect a child’s development and overall quality of life so it’s important to help them breath better as early as

Before Expansion                                                                                            After Expansion

Expansion: The Earlier the Better 2Expansion: The Earlier the Better 3