How Old Should My Child Be to Get a Palate Expander?

A palate expander is a dental appliance used to widen the roof of the mouth referred to as the palate. Ultimately, it helps to create more space in order for teeth by performing routine adjustments that gradually expand the upper arch. It is custom fitted to the patient and cemented onto the upper molar teeth. Once the desired results have been reached, the palate expander will be removed.

Reasons for a palate expander may include:

  • If an individual has a “crossbite.” This kind of bite occurs when some of the upper teeth sit inside of the lower teeth. If an individual as a narrow palate, this is possible and can cause facial asymmetry if is not corrected appropriately.
  • To reduce any issues of crowded teeth or overcrowding. If the palate is expanded, the teeth should erupt in their correct positions.
  • To improve breathing. In cases where an individual has a narrow or deep jaw, it can be difficult to properly breath the nose, which may result in frequent mouth-breathing. Mouth-breathing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just increases the likeliness for inhalation of unfiltered bacteria, dry mouth, and bad breath, so if a palate expander can limit the occurrence of mouth-breathing, it would be a large benefit.


A palate expander is most effective within a certain time frame during development. Generally, this means as a child or preteen since there are certain structures in the mouth that haven’t fully fused at this time making it possible for changes to take place with the help of a palate expander. The Mooresville, NC pediatric dentists at Davidson & Burr always say that consulting an oral health professional is the first step in making a “dental decision”.

A regular dentist, who is familiar with growth and development of the mouth, would know if a child may or may not be a candidate for a palate expander and would be able to provide further insight of the exact age that would be most beneficial. Additionally, if a dentist does suggest the recommendation of a palate expander, he or she may refer you to an orthodontist who would place the expander and monitor the mouth and use of the expander.

Please Contact Us:

At Richmond, Virginia Orthodontics (RVO), it is our primary goal to put our patients first! If you may have a child who has been given the recommendation of a palate expander, or may think your child could benefit from a palate expander, we invite you to please contact our office. We have an excellent staff who is willing to provide any information that you may need and is also available to schedule you for an initial consultation.

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