Hello! Newly braced with an expander question :)

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Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:07 pm

Hello! Newly braced with an expander question :)

#1 Post by braciefacie »

Hi everyone,

New to the forum, but have lurked here in the past few months. Just wanted to say it's a great forum and you don't know how much all your threads and informative posts have helped me in my decision in getting braces! So a big thank you to the Arch-wired community! :D

I was braced 3.5 weeks ago, metal uppers and lowers (with 2 extractions on my bottom pre-molars) and let me say that it was tough the first few days, but after about 2 weeks, I was used to the braces. I rarely even use wax these days and I can speak properly now *yay!*

The only thing that bothers me now is that I still can't clench down on my back molars due to my slight overbite (so whenever I bite down, my two front teeth hit the bottom brackets) so I still can't chew and have just been mashing up my food! It's pretty inconvenient but the ortho told me to persevere for another month or two before my teeth straightens out a bit more and my bite will change.

I went back to the ortho a few days ago for a check-up and she put spacers in, telling me that I will be getting expanders in about 5 days (no surgery), on my lower and in particular, my upper arc to make more room to move a teeth forward (currently it is half-hidden behind a canine tooth). She doesn't want to remove my upper teeth, as she believes that we'll probably have enough space once the expansion is done and we could always 'shave a little' off the teeth if we require a bit more room.
She was also against extraction, as she said it may give me a flatter profile and that it would be better to have a full smile.

I am a bit concerned about this procedure however, as I have been reading this forum as well as some articles online that apparently as an adult (I'm 27), expanders do not work as effectively unless you get surgery as well to facilitate the expansion. I've also read that it may cause all sorts of problems in the future - from effecting your gum line to root absorption, and eventual tooth loss (in extreme cases) :shock:

So I guess I just wanted to ask whether anyone else has gotten this done as an adult (expanders without surgery) and how it went.

As you could see, I'm starting to feel uneasy about this as all I ever wanted was beautiful teeth and a correct bite, but I don't want to get this temporary 'fix' just to find out that my teeth may fall out in the future due to the expansion :cry: Is it true that big gaps will form in the front of teeth? And also, what is the average time taken for the expansion to be completed?

Thanks so much in advance :)

Posts: 657
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:09 pm

#2 Post by ohmyjaw »

For a long time it has been assumed that expanders only work on children, but today there are many orthos who are using them in adults, successfully.

However, there is still some debate about how effective they are, and whether they actually expand your palate, or just push your teeth outwards.

If you are having doubts about this course of treatment, you could always seek a second or third opinion.

I did some research on this topic when I first started treatment, because I had a narrow palate too. I found some fairly encouraging research on expander use in adults, but obviously you need to make the choice that YOU are comfortable with. (I ended up having surgery, because it turned out my issues were more complex than just a narrow palate.)

I know there are quite a few folks on this forum who have expanders, so hopefully they will have something to add.

Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:23 pm
Location: Daegu, South Korea

#3 Post by kyhwa777 »

I have had my RPE in since the middle of January and I still have it in. I had SARPE in April..... The Ortho said it should come out in the middle of December. I cant wait either.

Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:07 pm

#4 Post by braciefacie »

Thanks for the reply guys, definitely made me feel less anxious.

Just a quick update on my most recent appointment - my ortho told me that I was not to get expanders and instead, she'll expand the arch by just using the braces (self ligating ones) to move some of the teeth outwards to create space. This was a relief to hear, as I was starting to dread (and question) the whole expander route.

So now I've got some more bands put on the back molars and it was extremely painful procedure this time round - so much that I was squirming in the chair and was even tearing up! (This is coming from someone who has a relatively high pain threshold!).

My 1st major adjustment is scheduled in about 3.5 weeks time - getting thicker wires and I'm looking forward to it! I've noticed that one of my crooked teeth have made some ground - it's moved down quite a lot, so that's encouraging to see and lifting my spirits! :)

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