Volume 7| February 2020
Love is in the Air!
When we think of February, we think of Valentine’s Day and showing the people in our lives how much we love them. However, it’s also important to show yourself some love too – so treat yourself well this month! If getting a smile you love is part of that, we can do a free consultation and smile simulation so you can see what your new smile will look like! In this edition, we’re going to talk about palatal expanders and one of our awesome patients!
What is an expander?
An expander is a custom-made appliance that is used to widen the upper jaw. The appliance fits over the top molars in the back of the mouth. The appliance has two halves that are connected in the middle with a screw. 
How does an expander work?
Palatal expanders create more space in the mouth by gradually widening the upper jaw. While this may sound complicated, it’s very easy both to do and to tolerate because the upper jaw develops at two separate halves that don’t completely fuse together until sometime after puberty. Before that happens, the two bones can gently be separated and stabilized over a period of several months. For adults whose suture has fused, surgically assisted expansion is an option.

To activate an expander, you use a special key to turn the screw a minimal amount each day. These turns cause the suture between the palatal bones to widen by gradually moving them apart. Once the desired expansion is achieved, the appliance remains in place for a few more months to allow new bone to form in the gap and stabilize the expansion. Generally, expanders are worn for about six months in total.
What issues does the expander fix?
At your initial consultation, we will evaluate if an expander is beneficial and necessary for you. Commonly, an expander is used to treat the following issues:

1.     Crossbites
The upper teeth should fit around the outside of the lower teeth. In a patient with a narrow palate, it can be the other way around, with the upper teeth biting inside the lower teeth. This results in asymmetrical growth of the lower jaw, which can cause facial asymmetry if it isn’t corrected in time. Wear and fracture to the teeth can also result.

2.     Crowding
In many patients, crowding can be reduced or eliminated with an expander by creating space for the upper teeth to come into the correct positions. This can avoid the need to extract permanent teeth.

3.     Impacted Teeth
An impacted tooth occurs when a tooth that hasn’t come in yet because it is blocked by other teeth. An expander can widen the upper jaw to allow the impacted tooth to erupt into the proper position. This most often happens with canines or “eye teeth.”

4.     Mouth Breathing
A narrow upper jaw makes it difficult for a child to breathe through his or her nose because the roof of the mouth is also the floor of the sinus. This results in mouth breathing, which causes the unhealthy inhalation of unfiltered bacteria, dry mouth, and potential gum disease and bad breath.

5.     A More Beautiful Smile!
Expanding the palate can create a wider, more esthetic smile. Expansion can also reduce the time that braces are required. 
Meet Ryan, One of Our Expander Patients!
Dr. Moricz used an expander to correct a crossbite and widen the adorable smile on our amazing, fun-loving patient, Ryan! Ryan is a busy young man who comes from a busy family, so we had been planning his expansion for just the right time.

Ryan is a showman! He performs in plays and musicals and was able to do so with his expander in. This showmanship runs in the family, as his dad “Rosco” Nash is a professional comedian (@rosco_nash on Instagram). Dr. Moricz highly recommends catching one of his shows when he is in town. Ryan’s little sister, Ruby, is also active in theater and will soon be getting an expander as well! Ryan’s Mom is the super busy owner and instructor of Hot Yoga 4 You on Clark Road (Dr. Moricz absolutely loves the studio and encourages you to join her in attending a class at the studio).

Dr. Moricz feels so fortunate to have so many wonderful families to work with! You all reward her with so much and it’s so great to share all of your special talents with the Moricz Orthodontics family!
Share the Love!
We love our happy, smiley patients and encourage them to share their results and experience (and the love!) with their family and friends so that they can also achieve a great smile! For every new client you refer to our office that starts treatment with us, we’re offering you $100 off of your bill or a $100 Amazon gift card! Spreading the love is rewarding!
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