We asked Lincoln a few questions about what its like to get an expander at Goings Orthodontics.  Here is his experience along with Dr. Goings explanation of his treatment!

Lincoln, age 7. Concerns: two front teeth have been missing for at least 7 months with no signs of eruption and a lower front tooth that is completely blocked out (the permanent tooth does not have anywhere to erupt into the mouth). The teeth are severely crowded and there is not enough space to erupt into the mouth. The crowding is caused because of a narrow upper jaw. His upper jaw is narrow because as a young child his adenoids and tonsils were enlarged causing a constricted airway.  At night he breathed through his mouth and snore.  (These two signs are indications of a constricted airway and sleep disordered breathing.) The constricted airway leads to abnormal growth and development of the upper jaw (maxilla), causing it to not develop the proper width and in some people the maxilla doesn’t grow forward enough either.  This abnormal growth can cause crossbites in the back and front teeth and moderate to severe crowding. To help these problems, Dr. Goings (Lincoln’s dad) believes it is time to place a Quad Helix expander to develop more space for the front teeth to erupt and expand his upper jaw for future teeth eruption. The expander will gently expand the upper palate and be in the mouth for approximately 9 months.

Now for Lincoln’s take on all of this.  Answers from Lincoln are in plain text, responses from his Mom are in italics.
1) Why do you have to get an expander?
My two front teeth weren’t coming in. He had the expander placed to help his front teeth on top come in and then help with making space on the lower where a tooth is blocked out.
2) Did the separators hurt?
No. One fell out because I ate a Starburst.  I heard it pop and I pulled the Starburst out and the separator was stuck in the Starburst.  My Daddy put it back in with floss. It hurt at first but the next day, it didn’t hurt so bad. Great example of what not to eat!  Other than the one Starburst, he didn’t eat anything sticky. The separator was in his mouth for 5 days before it fell out.  The expander was placed the next day.
3) What did the impression taste like?
I chose blueberry flavor but it didn’t taste like anything. He did good during impressions.  He even was able to mix the impression material up with the technician. 
4) What did the impression feel like?
I don’t remember. He didn’t have any comments about how the impression felt.   I think it went well.
5) Did it hurt when they glued it in?
The part that hurt was it was too tight at first.  Then it was pulled out to be made smaller.  It felt better when it wasn’t tight.
6) How long did it take to put in?
It took maybe about 4 minutes. The appointment was scheduled for 30 minutes.  It took a little longer because he did not like the flavor of the glue.  Once it was placed, the arms of the expander were in the wrong place, so it had to be removed and placed again.  He was not eager to have the expander placed after it was removed because of the glue flavor.  He also said it was really tight the first time.  He kept closing his mouth when he was supposed to stay open and the teeth would get wet.  Once the expander was placed and it was in the correct position, Lincoln said it felt comfortable.
Is your mouth sore?
No but I can’t eat hard foods yet. It’s been 16 hours.  He states that one area is bumpy in his cheek.  I placed wax on the band and he said it felt better.  I gave him ibuprofen last night before bed and will give him more this morning to help with any soreness that may occur. 
8) What is the first thing you ate after getting your expander?
I had a push up pop that they gave me.  For dinner I had cut strawberries, a hot dog, macaroni and cheese, and ice cream. He ate about half his meal but all of the ice cream.
9) Does it make you talk funny at first?
Yes – cheese is hard to say. It took him a couple hours to adjust his speech.  He is doing fine and it hasn’t stopped him from talking as much as he normally does.

Stay tuned for Lincoln’s next interview on his next visit with Dr. Goings!


Do you ever wonder about these questions:

  • When should my child see the orthodontist for the first time?
  • Why do I see more young kids with braces on these days?
  • Are my child’s permanent teeth developing properly?
  • How many baby teeth are left?
  • Is there a functional concern or a cosmetic concern affecting self-esteem?

Though Dr. Goings can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin seeing an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.


While orthodontic treatment with full braces most often begins between the ages of 10 and 14, some orthodontic problems are easier and necessary to correct if they are treated early. If it appears that treatment will be needed, Dr. Goings can advise you as to the ideal time to begin. This gives Dr. Goings the best chance to:

  • Guide jaw growth
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Improve appearance and self-esteem
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position


It’s not always easy to tell when your child has an orthodontic problem. Even teeth that look straight may be hiding a problem bite. Here are some clues that may indicate the need for orthodontic attention:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that are too far forward or back
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Upper and lower teeth that don’t meet, or meet in an abnormal way
  • An unbalanced facial appearance
  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth


Not only do well-aligned teeth look good and feel good, they also are important to proper dental health. Poorly aligned teeth can lead to dental problems. Not everyone needs orthodontic treatment. But if your child does need help, it pays to start treatment when you have the greatest chance for success. If you have a child who is 7 or older, why not set up a complimentary exam with Dr. Goings at Goings Orthodontics in Fort Collins or Wellington? Call 970-377-1888 or visit our Appointment Request page to schedule an appointment.