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A member asked:

After i get my palate expander removed, will i need a retainer? i thought the palate expander permanently changed the shape of your mouth, but a friend just told me the reason she wears a retainer is because she had a palate expander. i was hoping to be d

3 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gregory Johnson
Specializes in Orthodontics
Answer: : Answer: to begin with i assume we are talking about a growing patient utilizing the palatal expansion appliance. Use of a fixed expansion appliance for the palate is only effective up until the age of 17. After that time the skeletal palate suture (growth plate) is fused and the palatal bone will not widen through conventional appliance application alone. In the case of patients older than 17 years of age a surgical assist of the palatal appliance activation is most likely necessary. It is normal to follow fixed palatal expansion treatment (activation and stabilization time) with some type of retention period. Usually the palatal expansion treatment is followed by different subsequent removable appliances/retainers or braces on the teeth. In expanding the palate you are permanently changing/widening the skeletal bone structure, so long term retention of the expansion (longer than 5 months) is probably not necessary. However some type of retention period should be expected immediately after expansion appliance removal.
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Dr. David Schleimer
A Verified Doctoranswered
40 years experience
Minimum of 5 months: Palatal expansion is almost always part of an overall orthodontic plan to include braces. Expansion is development sensitive as girls have closure of the midline earlier in life. After active expansion, i leave the expander in place for a minimum of 5 months. This allows time for the new bone to completely solidify. It is the same reason a cast is worn after a broken bone is set.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. David Schleimer
A Verified Doctor commented
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And Jule, you are in your 30's. There is NO WAY to orthopedically expand the maxilla without surgery. Is this question about your daughter or you????
Sep 20, 2013
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 55 years experience
Need stabilization: Takes >3 months for bone to fill into expansion areas, >6 months for bone to mature, and up to 2 yrs for soft tissue changes to be completed. Palatal expansion is usually only 1 step in the overall malocclusion rx process, and usually braces are also needed. If you make changes, you need to retain those changes, or you can have relapse.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Oct 3, 2016
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