Can adults get palate expanders

When you hear, “palate expander,” what comes to mind? Most people associate palate expansion with children. For many children, palate expanders help fix a narrow palate and gradually widen the jaw to allow teeth to fit together properly.

While palate expanders are typically used to treat orthodontic issues in children, adult patients can also benefit from palate expanders.

What Can a Palate Expander Fix?

A narrow palate affects how the teeth fit together and often leads to significant dental complications. A palate expander creates more space by widening the upper arch and helps fix dental issues such as:

  • Crossbites
  • Overcrowding
  • Arch constriction

Dentists commonly recommend palate expanders for children. At a young age, the mouth is still developing and more responsive to treatment. The upper jaw is made up of two bones connected by a suture and doesn’t close until the early teen years. Even so, treatment with palate expanders can also be helpful for adults—though the treatment may take longer.

How a Palate Expander Works

A palate expander is attached to the roof of your mouth and secured to your back teeth. Your dentist then activates the device by using a key. When they turn the key, the device gently pushes outward. The resultant pressure helps to widen the arch over time and create a healthier bite. 

Once the palate reaches the desired width, the expander will stay in place for a few additional months. This way, new bones can form to stabilize your teeth and ensure the palate remains in the proper position.

Alternatives to Palate Expanders

A palate expander is just one of many orthodontic appliances used to correct bite issues. Other treatment recommendations may also fit your particular dental situation.


Braces are a common orthodontic appliance used to treat a variety of dental issues. They are commonly used for children between the ages of 11 and 13, but older teens and adults also benefit from treatment. Orthodontists commonly use braces to treat issues such as: 

  • Overcrowding
  • Gaps
  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites 
  • Open bites


Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces. The treatment involves the use of clear aligners as opposed to metal wires and brackets. Invisalign is a more common orthodontic treatment for older teens and adults. 

While Invisalign treats many of the same issues as traditional braces, it cannot treat severe cases.


A Herbst appliance helps treat overbites. The metal appliance is attached to the back teeth and gradually moves the lower jaw into a proper position.

Distal Jet

A distal jet is a permanent appliance that sits on the roof of the mouth, like a palate expander. The device pushes the upper teeth back to make room for additional teeth or to fix rotated teeth.

Getting an Adult Palate Expansion

Although frequently associated with children, orthodontic treatments commonly benefit adults. While treatments may take longer, adult palate expansion helps to correct alignment issues and improves overall oral health.

To schedule an appointment or find out more about how palate expanders can help you, contact Hansen Orthodontics today.