Understanding Jaw Misalignment
The medical term for teeth that aren’t appropriately aligned is “malocclusion.” Misalignment of the jaws can be a result of either the jaw or the teeth. Jaw Misalignment can lead to your top or bottom row of teeth mismatch when biting down, in either an underbite, overbite, or overjet. This condition is typically treated with orthodontic interventions like braces, while jaw alignment remedies are more varied. Severe jaw misalignments can cause problems when you chew, speak, breathe, and affect your psychological well-being. They can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay and cavities too. Misaligned teeth and jaws can be caused by a problem with the development and position of certain teeth or the jawbones and the tongue, lips, cheeks, and muscle tissue.
Orthodontic solution for Misaligned Jaw
The appropriate orthodontic solution to your jaw alignment issues varies based on its presentation and severity. While your regular dental professional is suitable for many explanations, a specialist known as an orthodontist will often be helpful to address your jaw problems.
- Braces: Braces help adjust your bite through pressure over time in the form of brackets bonded to your teeth and attached to archwires.
- Palatal expanders: Palate expanders are orthodontic appliances that correct any discrepancy or width problem between the upper and lower jaws.
- Headgear braces: Headgear braces help adjust your jaw with braces that are supplemented by straps fixed outside of the mouth around your head.
- Reverse pull face mask: Reverse pull face masks are for correcting underbite using braces fixed to your upper back teeth supplemented by straps set outside of the mouth around your head.
A palate expander is an orthodontic appliance tailored to widen the upper jaw. It is mainly used to correct the posterior dental crossbite, widen the smile arc, relieve dental crowding and widen the nasal cavity floor to improve the nasal airflow.
Types of palate expanders
- Removable palate expanders: These are recommended when only a tiny amount of Jaw widening is needed. Removable palate expanders have to be worn all the time except for eating, brushing teeth, or playing sports. They may only need the screw to be tuned twice a week.
- Hyrax rapid palatal expander: These expanders are bands designed to fit comfortably on all sides of individual back molars. They are glued on the teeth, which secure the expander in place. With a screw situated in the middle, under the roof of the mouth, it can be turned with a key to adjust them.
- Quad helix appliance: These are another kind of fixed expander similar to the Hyrax kind. Once placed into the mouth in a compressed state. This gently opens on its own and doesn’t require any manual adjustments.
- Haas expander: The Haas expander is also bonded to the back molars with a screw in the center of an acrylic plate. The palate expands when adjusted and puts pressure on the palate and teeth.
How does palate expanders work?
A palatal expander functions by applying gentle pressure to the maxillary bones, which is enough to separate the bones at the suture, widen and open the entire upper jaw till it expands the palate. The upper jaw comprises two maxillary bones connected in the center of the intermaxillary suture, which forms a structure called the maxilla. The amalgamation of these two bones occurs during the middle teen years. Palatal expansion works best in the early adolescent years before the maturation of the mid-palatal suture.
Who needs Palatal Expanders?
A few children have smaller jaws than usual, which makes it challenging to accommodate adult teeth leading to misalignment or crowded teeth. As permanent teeth usually replace baby teeth between 6 to 13 years of age, this is the main period when children might need Palatal Expanders. The expanders can be beneficial for:
- Reducing or eliminating overcrowding by creating space for the upper set of teeth so that they erupt incorrect positions
- Reducing the risk of developing impacted teeth by making room for teeth by widening the upper jaw
- Correcting a crossbite so that a child can close around the outside of the lower teeth and stop asymmetrical jaw growths, thus restoring facial symmetry.
With palatal expanders, it is also possible to expand the upper jaw, which will improve a child’s smile aesthetically and limit the need for tooth extraction.
If there’s a misalignment or other issue, it’s often easier to treat at a younger age as the jaw and palate are still developing. Consult our doctors at Brite Orthodontics to choose the best treatment option for you. Book a free appointment now!