Have you ever eaten half a meal only to find that your jaw is tightening up on you? It could be that the meat is too firm and tough on your mouth. Alternatively, you could suffer from a tight jaw that makes it difficult to chew. 

Your tight jaw could be the result of a variety of factors ranging from stress to a TMJ disorder. While stress can be managed with therapy and medications, an issue with your jaw muscles needs a more physical treatment method. 

Here are some of the benefits of a lower jaw expander for adults suffering from jaw pain.

What Is a Lower Jaw Expander?

A lower jaw expander is a device designed to widen your lower jaw. This can correct imbalances in its alignment that can cause other issues, such as teeth crowding. Adults can experience relief from chronic jaw pain once they begin the treatment. 

These expanders are available in different forms, such as a removable palate expander. These resemble retainers and can be taken out when eating or cleaning your teeth. 

How quickly the treatment works will depend on the specific type of care. Children may only need the expander for a few months before they see results. Older individuals may need at least a year before the process is complete. 

Who Needs a Removable Palate Expander

You may require a palate expander if you suffer from any of the following issues:

  • Narrow palates
  • Teeth crowding
  • Crossbite
  • Jaw pain
  • TMJ disorder

A narrow palate may cause difficulties in breathing, eating, or speaking. The expander fixes this by applying gradual outward pressure to your teeth to widen the right and left halves of your jaw. 

Crossbites are when your teeth don’t fit well together and close past one another. These are often dealt with when a person is a child and their jaw is more malleable. It can negatively affect your oral health and make chewing difficult. 

Teeth crowding is a similar problem to a crossbite where your teeth push up against one another. This can increase the risk of dental problems and gingivitis. 

TMJ disorders cause pain specifically in the joints and muscles controlling your jaw. This happens due to the misalignment of your jaw. 

Benefits of a Lower Jaw Expander for Adults

There are many benefits to using a lower jaw expander to treat your dental issue as opposed to other procedures. Not only can it help your mouth look and feel better, but it’s a non-surgical alternative to other options.

There are also multiple types of jaw expanders your dentist may use depending on the severity of your condition. 

Improved Oral Function and Health

Expanding your lower jaw can improve your overall oral function. What happens if your jaw is misaligned is that your teeth may rub against one another in the wrong way or cause excessive stress on your jaw. This can lead to more wear on your teeth as well as strain on your muscles and joints. 

On top of that, better alignment can help with your oral hygiene. If your teeth are crowding due to a narrow palate, then it can be difficult to brush or floss them. As your jaw expands, so does the area your teeth can push into. 

Visual Aesthetic Enhancement

Palate expander before and after pictures can be striking to see.

On the outside, using them can enhance facial symmetry and aesthetics. Your jaw may look more pronounced or recessed based on its previous misalignment. 

A well-aligned jaw will also even out your smile. Widening your palate gives your dentists more space to work with to straighten out your teeth and fix your bite. As a result, you can expect the overall appearance of your face to improve. 

Non-Surgical Alternative

One of the biggest benefits of using a lower jaw expander for adults is that it’s a non-surgical treatment.

The problem with treating adult jaw problems is that their bones aren’t still developing like a child’s bones. They’re locked in place, so many procedures to alter them require breaking the jaw bones. 

With a jaw expander, there’s no need for surgery or causing direct damage to your bones. At the same time, it can bring significant improvements to your jaw through months of this treatment. 

Using a lower jaw expander involves getting a custom-made piece and fitting it onto your lower teeth. The patient will periodically visit their orthodontist to adjust it, much like you would with braces.

Once you achieve the desired results, you may still need to wear the expander for a little longer to stabilize the new bone.

Variety of Options

The most common type of palate expander your orthodontist may recommend is a removal palate expander. These work much like retainers in that they can be taken out when you need to eat or brush your teeth. 

However, some other common types include the hyrax rapid palatal expander, quad helix expander, and Hass expander. These are all fixed expanders that may be needed to treat more severe cases. 

Considerations and Challenges

Whether or not lower jaw expanders are a good option for a patient will depend on their bone health and their specific dental issues. Something like a removable expander won’t always provide the level of attention that a fixed one will. 

If your bone is weakened due to certain factors, then it may not handle an expander well. You’ll also need to stay committed to the treatment and make regular visits to your orthodontist

Try a Lower Jaw Expander for Adults

Ideally, a person would deal with their jaw issues earlier on in life when their body is still developing. However, a lower jaw expander for adults can also produce great results for treating ailments like crossbite or TMJ pain. 

Sencak Orthodontics offers dental treatments for all ages in Cranberry, Zelienople, Robinson, Canfield, and Avalon. Our wide range of services includes Invisalign, clear braces, metal braces, and palatal expanders. Contact us today to learn more and to set up your first appointment.