By January, I had officially decided to give this palate expansion thing a shot, lack of resources or direction be damned.
The first orthodontist I consulted with agreed with everything I said (woo), suggested that I study to become an orthodontist myself since I seem to know what I’m talking about (hmm), and told me he’s actually seen a few adults achieve true palate expansion (huzzah!).
But, he also said he didn’t think I could achieve enough expansion to accommodate two implants, and he wanted to put braces on me right away (concurrently with an expander), which I was not crazy about. The whole appointment also felt rushed, and I didn’t get all my questions answered. Pass.
The second orthodontist I consulted with spent at least an hour in a private room with me listening to my concerns and ideas, looking at different palate expanders on Google Images, discussing options, and answering my questions. She was ultimately a bit skeptical about everything (she, too, was taught that true palate expansion in adults isn’t possible), but was willing to experiment.
So, we decided to wade in slowly by fitting me with a removable palate expander and just seeing what happened. The expander (plus the whole initial workup/consult) cost $470.
I asked about the DNA appliance, homeoblock, biobloc, and ALF, but my ortho didn’t like any of those (for various reasons I can’t fully remember), so I was happy with trying the basic lateral expander she suggested. I knew I’d need a lot of forward expansion as well, but I was okay with just starting here.
The plan was to wear the expander full time, only taking it out to eat and brush teeth. I would use a metal key to expand it every Monday and Friday.
What we were hoping to see in the following weeks was a gap between my two front teeth, because a gap in that spot signals actual bone growth at the mid-palatal suture – which is what we want! Otherwise, you’re just moving or tipping teeth, which is not accomplishing true palate expansion.