Braces as an adult? No way. At least, that was what I thought when my dentist told me that I was going to have to see an orthodontist about my crooked teeth. But my teeth were so misaligned that they were causing me pain when I chewed, so I decided to at least look into it. Turns out braces today are nothing like the ones my friends had when I was a kid. Mine were practically invisible, and I didn't need to wear them that long. I started this blog to encourage other people like me who are nervous about the prospect of wearing braces as an adult. My straight smile is so worth the trips to the orthodontist, and wearing braces was nowhere near as bad as I thought. Read on to find out more about how you can straighten your smile.
So you've just learned during a routine visit to the orthodontist that you're going to have to have a device called a "palate expander" glued into your mouth before your adventure in orthodontia is complete, and you're a little lost at sea. If you're looking for simple but in-depth information on how your expander will work, how it will feel, and how long you'll have it, then here's what you need to know.
How does it operate?
As the name would suggest, the palate expander…well, expands your palate, giving crowded teeth their proper room, or allowing previously undescended teeth to finally erupt and settle into their own space. Your expander could be on the top of your mouth (if it's your upper jaw that's cramped) or the bottom (if it's the lower jaw that needs more room), or even both (if your mouth is just small all the way around). Top expanders generally need to have a small key-like tool inserted into them and turned (your orthodontist will specify how often) to foster the expanding process, while bottom expanders vary from patient to patient (and are far less common than top expanders).
Will it hurt?
Expanders definitely won't give you the sharp pain of a needle, but as they're working to reshape your mouth itself, there will definitely be moments where it causes sinus pressure (particularly after each key turning session), which can be uncomfortable. The pressure should go away quickly, but if it stays around for a bit longer or is painful enough that you become distracted by the pain, feel free to take an OTC pain reliever (or, if underage, ask an adult for one).
How long will it be there?
Only your orthodontist can say for sure how long you'll need your expander (or, if both your top and bottom jaw need to widen, expanders) to stay in your mouth, but know that the average is generally around 4 months to half a year. While that may feel like forever, being able to count down the time can make the device seem like less of a hassle and more like a temporary annoyance. Remember, paying careful attention to the rest of your dental and orthodontic responsibilities and operating your expander (if you need to) the way the orthodontist told you to are key to not prolonging your time with your expander, and getting on your way to a beautiful, even smile.Share