There are some patients that have significantly narrowed jaws, needing a more mechanical expansion option to widen the jaws. At The Myofunctional Centre, we mainly use the Biobloc 1 removable jaw expansion appliance. There are other appliance designs that we may utilise, depending on each individual needs.
Situations where the removable jaw expansion appliance may be indicated, include:
- Severely deficient tongue space in the palate
- Pathological snoring and sleep issues that are related directly to narrow jaws
- Decreasing natural jaw growth potential, but the jaws are still extremely narrow
- Non-compliance with the orofacial myofunctional exercises and devices
- The jaws are not responding to the orofacial myofunctional exercises and devices
We prefer to prescribe custom made removable jaw expansion appliances (plates), so that the patient is able to remove them for oral hygiene. There are fixed (glued on) options, but we tend to refer the patients for these to specialist orthodontists due to challenges in activating and maintaining them.
On average, with the Biobloc 1, the active jaw expansion phase takes around 6 months to complete. Some may take longer and some may take shorter, depending on each patient’s unique biological response.
This expansion phase may be indicated at the beginning, or in the middle, of the orofacial myofunctional pre-orthodontic treatment. Keep in mind that these jaw expansion appliances widen the jaws structurally, and we believe the functions of the muscles of the mouth and face are important to always be addressed. Therefore, orofacial myofunctional exercises and devices are always incorporated within the entire treatment program.
Do removable jaw expansion appliances hurt?
Just like wearing new shoes on, these removable appliances take a few days to get used to. They may feel slightly tight after each activation, but the tightness only lasts for a few minutes. However, when the jaws are expanding more quickly because of the appliances working, the bones of the head usually react to the movement. Consequently, headaches and/or discomfort may occur every now and then. Regular adjustments from a cranial bodyworker (osteopath or chiropractor) are necessary to ensure the entire cranial system adapts favourably, ensuring continuous comfort.
Do you take these removable appliances out for eating?
No. In fact, the chewing forces while eating can make these appliances to work more effectively in widening the jaw. The only times they need to be removed are for brushing teeth, cleaning the appliances, and/or during contact sports (eg. martial arts, footy, etc.). And, yes, you also need to wear them to sleep.
Are they custom made?
Yes, each appliance is especially made for the jaws of the specific patient. They can also be quite fun as there are infinite possibilities to design them with different colours, special effects (eg. sparkles, glow in the dark, etc.), images and even words, like the patient’s name.