The first visit when starting with an expander is actually a series of three back-to-back visits, usually 1-2 weeks apart.
The first visit will be the records appointment and separators will be placed at this time so that we may fit bands at the second appointment.
At the second appointment, Dr. Renick will remove the separators and fit bands to the teeth. These bands, or metal rings around the tooth, are custom-fit to ensure the proper size and the best results.
After the appropriate size band is fit, an impression of the teeth with the bands will be taken. Each expander is custom made to fit each specific patient. The bands are removed from the teeth and placed in the impression, and the impression is poured in plaster. The resulting model is the template for making the expander.
At this appointment, the separators will be replaced to hold the space until the expander is delivered. Remember, the bands are not on the teeth yet because they are being used to make the expander. The space between the teeth needs to be maintained so that the expander will slide into place.
If the treatment plan includes top and bottom intervention, bands will also be fit to the lower molars. As separators can sometimes be uncomfortable, for the benefit of the patient, we plan the top and bottom band fitting at the same time even if we are not yet ready to start on the bottom teeth. This means that the patient only has to deal with the separators once. Once the bottom bands are fit, they will be cemented to the tooth. We use special dental cements. Because we need to find a strong cement to last throughout treatment that is still easy to remove at the end.
The expander will be delivered at the third visit. At this visit, we will cement the expander in place with a slightly stronger band cement because the expander is designed to withstand stronger forces. The patient and the parent will be shown how to activate or turn the expander and a turning schedule will be provided based on what is needed in each individual case.
Expansion takes approximately 3-6 weeks depending on the case. After completing the expansion, the bonding appointment for the brackets will be scheduled. To learn more about this, please visit our Getting Started with Braces page. The expander will remain in place FOR A MINIMUM OF SIX MONTHS . Some expanders will remain longer to allow for more efficient tooth movements in specific case or in the case of facemask therapy to grow the upper jaw. We leave the expander in to help ensure a stable result and prevent retreatment.
To learn more about expanders and make an appointment with Dr. Renick, our orthodontist in Sunbury, Ohio, please call Renick Orthodontics at 740-936-5003.