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Rapid Palatal Expanders vs Niti Palatal Expanders

Palatal Expander

Palatal expanders work to prevent malocclusion, or misaligned bites, from affecting the growth and progression of your child’s teeth. These orthodontic devices work as both a treatment and prevention method to help expand the upper palate and widen the upper jaw to prevent the onset of misaligned teeth, which present a greater risk for cavities and gum disease for children later on in life. Crossbites, overcrowding, and impacted teeth are some of the most reoccurring reasons orthodontists use palatal expanders. However, with the development of a new type of expander, the Niti palatal expander, this new addition could bring more benefits than our contemporary devices.

We’re here to discuss the various options we can provide for palatal expanders, why the Niti palatal expander is a significant addition to our tools of the trade, and why we recommend getting palatal expanders for your teeth.


The Four Types of Palatal Expanders

Palatal expanders are unique for each patient because each patient’s mouth is just as unique. These expanders are designed based on the dental arch, palate size, and dental issues present during diagnosis and treatment. These devices provide solutions for those with breathing issues and severe cases of misaligned teeth. However, at our disposal, we have a few selections of palatal expanders to help you correct your teeth and keep them healthy. These selections include:

  • Rapid Palatal Expanders: This expander can correct narrowing palates, overcrowded teeth, and crossbites. Fitting over the upper back molars, these devices create tension between the two palatal bones to widen the upper jaw and expand the dental arch. These devices are normally left in a few months for children and can take as long as three to six months for a fully widened upper jaw.
  • Removable Palatal Expanders: In the case of rapid palatal expanders, some options can be easily removed, acting similar to acrylic retainers. However, these expanders are only used within a month to a few months, as this expander only works to expand the upper jaw a little. If given this type of expander, your orthodontist will instruct you on the length of time to wear it.
  • Implant-Supported Expanders: These expanders are used for moderate to severe cases and are often used for adults who have fully grown in palates. Four mini implants are used to support the device, and these implants act as a guide to force the maxillary bone to expand over time.
  • Surgically-Assisted Expanders: Also used for moderate to severe cases, for adults who need their palate expanded, the expander can be surgically placed into the mouth to force movement of the upper jaw palate over time.

What Makes Niti Palates So Unique For Orthodontists?

The Niti palatal expander, also known as the nickel-titanium expander, is made with a “shape memory” alloy that reduces the clinical time needed to expand the palate and leads to improved results. This uniform, continuous force is what’s making orthodontists excited for their patients, as it can potentially help reduce risks and help expand palates without much issue.

To learn more about your options for nickel-titanium palates and other orthodontic treatments, visiting your general dentist or orthodontist is the most trusted place to begin.

Dr. Karmen Massih Inspired by orthodontics at the age of 10, Dr. Karmen Massih earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine at UCLA's School of Dentistry. After earning her certificates in orthodontics at the University of Pittsburgh, she returned to her hometown of Glendale, CA, to begin Massih Orthodontics, a practice dedicated to transforming smiles for people of all ages.