Maxillary Widening (surgically assisted palatal expansion, or maxillary expansion)

Palatal expansion is the widening of the upper jaw with an appliance called a palatal expander. The palatal expander is customized to fit your child’s palate and attached to the molar teeth. The appliance is activated through turning to gradually create a wider palate.  

The appliance will correct crossbites of the molar teeth, make room for crowded teeth, and widen the upper jaw when it is smaller than the bottom jaw. The palatal expander is used in younger patients who are still growing but can be used effectively until the end of adolescence. This is because the jaw cannot yet be rigidly attached to the rest of the skull.

Because widening the upper jaw takes a multidisciplinary approach, our surgical team at the Yale Maxillofacial and Orthognathic Surgery Program works in conjunction with your orthodontist (or we can provide a trusted specialist). Our goal is to provide your child with the best possible outcome and the best possible care. 

By using advanced 3D imaging to assess you or your child’s specific condition, we can simulate the outcome of proposed surgical plans and adjust any discrepancies before surgery. The 3D technology allows us to create a surgical plan with a level of accuracy not available with traditional imaging technology.