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Expander Braces: Everything You Need to Know

October 25, 2021

Does your child need expander braces? There often comes a time for many parents when there is not enough moving room in their child’s mouth for all of their teeth to grow in naturally and without uncomfortable pain and aching. Expander braces or expanders for short can help increase that available space in the jaw and palate. Depending on the child’s anatomy, a dentist will position expanders to ensure enough room for new adult teeth to come through without complications while also lessening the probability of future issues down the line. 

Is it necessary to get expander braces?

Expander braces help to widen the jaw and create more room for natural teeth development and proper spacing. Depending on the set of the teeth, genetic history, and other personal dental factors, expanders can significantly help the mouth to avoid surgeries and unnecessary pain in the future. 

Your orthodontist will provide you with two types of expander braces attached to the upper back molars: upper jaw expanders and lower jaw expanders. The choice of expander will depend on the circumstances of the teeth. Also, what will better help create desired expansion in your child’s mouth. Your orthodontist will insert, turn, and remove parts of your expander braces periodically to increase space in your mouth. 

Do expanders hurt?

When your orthodontist puts in your expander braces, your mouth will widen week after week. This process will cause discomfort and pain in your child’s mouth that is fixable with over-the-counter pain medications. In addition, widening the jaw and palate will allow adult teeth to grow in without becoming impacted or crowded, creating a more natural, healthier smile as the mouth develops. 

 Your child may experience some pain and lisping while beginning their journey with expanders. However, time and patience will allow them to handle the feeling better and be less aware of the device in their mouth.

How long will my child have to wear expanders?

Expander braces need removal after a short time, between one to three months. Your orthodontist will then turn the screws periodically to make room. After that, dental professionals will check the mouth with frequent visits to ensure it’s on track and making consistent progress.

After the widening period, the braces will stay inside the mouth for six to 12 months. Your jaw will then heal and form new permanent sutures. This lengthy process is essential in ensuring the jaw stays widened and doesn’t return to its previous size. 

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Will expander braces affect how my child’s face looks?

Expander braces will not affect how your child’s face looks and will only work with the jaw and palate structures of the mouth. A small gap in the teeth may develop while using the expander. This process is widespread and will disappear as more teeth fill the mouth. 

This type of braces and other palate extenders ensure the mouth can continue to function and remain healthy. In addition, this helps minimize structural dental issues that can present themselves during adulthood. 


Expander braces are great tools for your child’s dental development to open their mouths better and allow their teeth to grow without becoming overcrowded or impacted. Childhood is a time of great upheaval and change in a child’s mouth. As a result, they often need professional dental help to ensure their teeth grow without pain, infection, or disease.Questions about expander braces and all you need to know Infographic.