Palatal Expander for Wider Arch

If your teeth are perfectly straight and aligned from braces when you were younger (16, now I am currently 21 almost 22) but you have an arch that is still relatively on the narrow side, is it possible to widen it anymore? What options are available for widening your arch some more to give a nicer, fuller smile.

Doctor Answers 5

Not necessarily too late for palatal expansion

I have seen patients even as old as 26 simply use orthodontic methods to expand arches, without surgery or any complicated treatment.  That does not mean it will work with everybody and MAY not be appropriate for you at 22.  Some believe that the sutures at the roof of the mouth have fused by your age, but recent studies are proving this long held belief to be false.

You may find that your situation is minor and simple Invisalign or traditional brackets is all you need.

Seattle Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Palatal expander for a Wider Arch

At your age, simple arch widening with a palatal expander is very difficult ( unless it is only a minor amount needed), usually what happens is that your teeh flare out and the bone in the palate does not widen, this can lead to other problems.  A surgicvally assisted palatal expansion can be performed using a palatal expander and a relativele minor surgery to make some cuts in the bone to facilitae the widening where you want it to occur.  The other option is full orthognathic jaw surgery to move the jaw where the ideal position should be.  This is the most invasive, but it is the quckest.

Brian Dorfman, MD, DMD
Phoenix Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Too late for palatal expansion...

As a child you are able to expand the palate while the bone is growing and maleable,but as an adult its tricky and not recommended. If I were you I would get orthodontics or Invisalign to widen the teeth out and see how you like it. Surgery seems a bit harsh for what you are wanting...

Michael J. Thomas, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Palatal expanders

At this age if you use an expander the actual expansion will be only due to tooth movement and not actual bony movement.  For small corrections this may be ok.  Otherwise a surgically assisted rapid palatal expansion is needed. 

Michael Timothy Gocke, DDS
McLean Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

Expansion of palate to correct arch


If it is a very minor narrowing of the arch, then orthodontics and teeth movement may address it. Otherwise, the only other option will be surgically assisted rapid palatal expansion. In this technique which I am quite familiar with, a surgical separation is created in the palatal bone and then the orthodontist will use the palatal expander to expand the arch by 1 mm a day. Within 5 days, the expansion is completed and then just allowed to heal.

Dr. H. Ryan Kazemi

H. Ryan Kazemi, DMD
Bethesda Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.