ALPHARETTA, GEORGIA- Orthodontic treatment can make a variety of daily actions easier. Speaking, brushing, chewing…even breathing.
A narrow or underdeveloped maxilla (jaw bone) is a fairly common predicament. A high palate and slender arch often inhibits the nasal breathing passages. By widening the upper jaw, nasal air passages are expanded and breathing becomes less of a struggle.
Orthodontic treatment can give new meaning to the phrase “breathe easy.” Prior to receiving braces or Invisalign, palatal expanders are often prescribed to widen the upper jaw. Adjustments in the width of the palate help upper and lower teeth fit together comfortably and accommodate future shifts in the smile, in addition to broadening the airway. In some cases, facial aesthetics are improved.
Difficulty breathing stemming from a narrow palate reinforces the reality that improper bone and tooth structure can negatively affect important functions that you may not typically associate with your smile. Alpharetta orthodontist Dr. Nima Hajibaik can help.
“I understand the thought of widening the facial structure may seem drastic to patients, but palatal expanders are a trusted solution which supply so many benefits,” says Dr. Nima.
Take a deep breath and relax, because modern orthodontics has allowed this task to be executed efficiently and with limited discomfort. Dr. Nima, who specializes in comprehensive and personalized dental orthodontics in the John’s Creek and Alpharetta area, has years of experience widening palates.
Here’s how palatal expansion works:
The “palate” refers to the roof of the mouth. The “suture” is where the two halves of the palate join. After Dr. Nima creates and installs a fixed or removable expander that’s personalized to your unique smile, the two halves will progressively detach, and new bone will grow in the suture’s place. This process, known as distraction osteogenesis, widens the palate and expands the airway. Depending on the amount of expansion required, distraction osteogenesis can take a few weeks to a few months to complete.
Dr. Nima works closely with each patient to ensure the upper jaw is expanded in a comfortable manner. No two patients’ smiles and orthodontic situations are alike, so there are various types of expanders available. Dr. Nima will determine what sort of expander is most suitable.
It typically takes some time to adjust to the feeling of the expander when eating or speaking, and a temporary gap between the two front teeth may occur. However, the ability to easily breathe through the nasal airways will be well worth any inconveniences.
The American Association of Orthodontists says children are the ideal candidates for palatal expansion. Young, developing jaw bones are malleable and easier to adjust. If you notice that your child or teen is breathing chiefly through his/her mouth, please visit us. The AAO also states that parents should have their children examined by an orthodontist prior to age 7. This way, the orthodontist can spot any developing malocclusions or jaw growth issues and determine if phase 1 treatment is needed.
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