Expanders/Habit Appliances

Young girl smiling.At Children's Dentistry of Amarillo, we strive to provide high-quality pediatric dental care in a safe, warm, and welcoming office environment. We have years of experience working with children throughout the Amarillo area, and Dr. Metcalf and our highly trained team of pediatric dental specialists have the skills and knowledge to make every visit to our office a pleasant experience, even for the little ones. We provide a wide variety of treatments, and palatal expanders and habit-changing appliances are crucial tools in providing those treatments.


Rapid Palatal Expander

Proper tooth alignment is a delicate thing, and all too often a patient's jaws can develop too narrowly or develop out of sync with each other, causing a variety of dental and orthodontic issues. Thankfully, when children are still young we can use a palatal expander to fix these problems during development. This prevents the need for extensive orthodontic treatment or tooth extractions later on.

Before children hit puberty the roof of their mouths aren’t comprised of a single bone, but two separate halves. Your Amarillo children’s dentist can use a palatal expander to gently push these halves apart, creating space that bone will grow into and fill. This simple, painless process widens the jaw, making more room for teeth to grow and preventing the need for future extractions.


Nance Appliance

A Nance Appliance is helpful for safeguarding teeth after treatment with headgear, a Wilson's Arch, or another appliance that's used to push back molars and prevent them from rotating or moving forward. The Nance Appliance consists of two bands cemented onto the first molars, a thin wire spanning between them, and an acrylic pad used between the wire and the roof of the mouth to ensure comfort. During treatment with a Nance Appliance, it's critical for children to avoid sticky, gooey, and chewy foods that can loosen the appliance. It is also vital that the bands be brushed daily to ward off infection.


Lip Bumpers

Lip bumpers are another helpful tool that allow your Amarillo pediatric dentist to treat problems during dental development, preventing them from worsening later on. The bumper is essentially a wire connecting two opposing molars in the lower jaw with a padded wire running along the outside of the teeth to keep lips and cheeks off the teeth. Over time the wire applies gentle pressure to the molars, gradually moving them back and creating space for crowded teeth to spread out normally.


Tongue Thrusting Appliance

Tongue thrusting is a habitual behavior that occurs when a patient's tongue pushes against his or her front teeth during daily activities like speaking or swallowing. This may seem like a small issue, but over time the pressure exerted by the tongue on the teeth can cause orthodontic problems like an open bite. A tongue thrusting appliance can correct this behavior, preventing patients from thrusting their tongues and allowing their teeth to develop normally.


Thumb & Finger Appliance

Few things are as comforting as the image of an infant sleeping with a thumb in his or her mouth; but, if thumb sucking continues past age four it can cause problems with the development of the teeth. If necessary, our pediatric dentist can use a thumb and finger appliance to prevent the thumb sucking behavior and safeguard the health of your child’s teeth and smile.


Contact Your Amarillo Pediatric Dentist

As always, we're happy to answer any questions you may have about the different oral appliances and treatments we provide for our patients. If you'd like to find out more about how pediatric dental treatment can help your child, or you think your child might benefit from one of these treatments, please give us a call at 806-351-0008, reach out to us at our contact page, or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment at our Amarillo, TX office.