We are about to start consulting orthodontists about my 8y.o. to see what treatment is recommended. I've noticed that expanders seem to be the "norm" these days. Something in me doesn't quite trust them. Thoughts on expanders (or other treatments that they might recommend for us)?
My son had an expander. I didn't see anything inherently wrong with it. From what I understand, it worked to expand his palette to help with over crowding. I'm wondering if I had gotten braces younger, if I could have had an expander rather than them doing what they're going to do now, which is pull a couple teeth. I think it also pulled his jaw forward (or back?) to fix his bite.
That said... my son HATED the expander with a passion. It broke constantly and came unglued from his teeth constantly. The only reason we could figure why was that he grinds his teeth at night. He couldn't wear anything to stop the grinding, because it wouldn't fit in his mouth because of the expander. So we resigned ourselves to constant (and I mean, like almost every 3 weeks) of going to the ortho to get the darn thing fixed. The ortho was NOT happy, but what else can you do?
But we made it through and, if we had to do it again, I'd probably put it back in his mouth (he might beg to differ, though!). I think his teeth look wonderful, honestly. Good luck!
Look up the Damon System of orthodontics. http://damonbraces.com/
They don't use expanders.
Ds (age 14) just got done with 18 months of using the Damon system (from Dr. Damon, himself!).
We saw 4 different orthodontists for consultations. Three of the four wanted to use expanders, one saying it would be in for 3 months, one for 6 months and one for 12 months! One wanted to use his in-office CT scanner on ds (with no other reason than "We do it to all our patients" despite there being no logic for exposing them to this). Another wanted to pull teeth that hadn't yet come in all the way. And, 3 of the 4 were pushy on starting treatment, immediately, during that first consultation.
Dr. Damon said he didn't use expanders and explained how it works without them. He said it would be better to allow those teeth to grow in before worrying about pulling them (they ended up not needing to be pulled). He couldn't understand the need for a CT scan when there was no criteria for one. And, he was incredibly non-pushy. He said, "This IS a big investment in money, time and commitment to treatment. Go home and think about it. Give us a call if you'd like to arrange things with us and thanks for coming in!" No pressure, very open.
Given the expense was just about the same for all four orthodontic treatment (around $4,900 with the substantial cash discount for paying all of it beforehand), we told ds it was his choice to make. It didn't take much thought in deciding to go with Dr. Damon.
No expander used and the results are wonderful. The wires were discreet (important to ds). Ds had no complaints during his treatment and found the every 10 week office adjustment visits very easy and comfortable. The appointments took less than 10 minutes and we never had to wait for more than 5 minutes before being seen. He has said if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn't have any problem with it.
His best friend is also in braces and will be in them for 3 years. He is still wearing an expander (it's been in for a year). His adjustments cause him a lot of discomfort. They wish they had gone with the Damon braces.
The other orthodontists continued to phone us, asking when we wanted to start treatment, even after being told we'd chosen someone else!! I would never recommend any of those orthodontists to anyone, just based on their office protocol and a few other things. Really annoying.