Making space for healthy teeth: the palatal expansion makes it possible




 Making space for healthy teeth: the palatal expansion makes it possible


Beautiful, straight teeth are usually also healthy teeth - those who have them can be considered lucky. People who have even, shiny teeth when they smile and laugh automatically appear attractive. Sick teeth, on the other hand, not only look ugly, but can also be the cause of a variety of diseases throughout the body. No wonder, then, that many parents pay special attention to the healthy development of their children's teeth and have orthodontists correct any undesirable developments at an early age. And even in adulthood, it is not too late for corrections. Orthodontic treatment is particularly necessary if the jaw and teeth show major abnormalities, so-called dysgnathias. Massive misalignments of the jaws and teeth are a health and aesthetic problem - they can have serious consequences, very unsightly crooked teeth and sometimes an unfavorable face shape. Often the cause of a misalignment is too narrow an upper jaw. In this form of dysgnathia, a so-called palatal dilation (GNE) can help.

What does dysgnathia mean?


The term comes from ancient Greek and contains the components “dys” (= false -...) and “gnathos” (= pine). In German, dysgnathia can also be described as a "miss bite". The opposite, namely a properly developed set of teeth, is called “eugnathy” (eu = good) in technical terms.


A dysgnathia is therefore an incorrect development of the jaw, the teeth or other parts of the entire chewing apparatus. This essentially includes deviations from the norm in the jaw position and shape, in the position of the jaws relative to one another and in the position of the teeth and the occlusion (i.e. the way in which the teeth bite into one another).


There are congenital and acquired dysgnathias; in the case of the congenital forms, the causes are, for example, disorders in the development of the embryo's skull. Later in life, dysgnathia can e.g. caused by injuries, loss of teeth without their replacement, tumors or hormonal influences. In the case of children, e.g. Heavy thumb sucking, vitamin deficiencies, or poor nutrition lead to acquired dysgnathia.


The dysgnathia causes a variety of problems


The consequences of dysgnathia can be considerable. Functional as well as aesthetic impairments occur, as malpositions of the jaw and teeth can not only result in diseases of the teeth and the entire chewing apparatus, but also the shape of the face or the face profile is sometimes very unfavorable.

When the jaw closes, abnormalities such as the cross bite (the cusps of the posterior teeth do not meet according to the norm), the overbite (protruding upper jaw) or the open bite

 (the front teeth do not meet when the jaw closes). The fact that the teeth are too close together makes it difficult to clean the spaces between the teeth. Thus, tooth decay easily develops and the tooth substance is damaged. There are often pain in the temporomandibular joint or head, neck and shoulder pain, and there are also problems with chewing, which also affect digestion and can cause gastrointestinal disorders.


In addition, diseases of the tooth support system (e.g. periodontitis) up to premature tooth loss are favored. Dysgnathia often results in increased mouth breathing and narrowing of the upper airways. This leads to breathing and speech disorders, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea as well as an increased susceptibility to respiratory infections.


One of several forms of dysgnathia is the so-called upper jaw crowding, i.e. an upper jaw that is too narrow, for which a palatal expansion can be considered as a therapy. This type of misalignment can be recognized by closely staggered, “nested” or protruding teeth in the front area of ​​the upper jaw and / or outwardly projecting canines.


An upper jaw that is too narrow often hinders nasal breathing, so that those affected usually snore heavily and often suffer from respiratory infections.

GNE - the palatal expansion: what is it?


With the palatal expansion (GNE) the upper jaw is widened in a targeted manner, so that more space is created for a regular arrangement of the teeth. A big advantage is that no healthy teeth have to be extracted for it.

With this orthodontic treatment, also called "forced palatal expansion", the bone seam in the middle of the palate (= the palatal seam, medically sutura palatina mediana) is pulled apart so that the upper dental arch can be widened significantly.


The two halves of the upper jaw, which are connected by the palatal suture, are separated and gradually pulled to the side. In children and adolescents, this treatment is usually possible without surgical support, because the palatal suture is elastic enough into young adulthood that the upper jaw can be moved apart by stretching alone.

Until the palatal suture becomes ossified, there is no operation


The palatal expansion not only widens the upper jaw and enables straight teeth. It improves or enables normal nasal breathing. The upper jaw not only forms the upper border (roof) of the oral cavity, but also the floor of the nasal cavity.


The GNE lowers the roof of the mouth and widens the nasal cavity, which can also straighten a curved nasal septum. This ultimately makes breathing easier as a whole, and the tendency to respiratory infections, snoring and sleep apnea can decrease or even disappear completely.

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