Rapid Palatal Expander

This expander is for patients with a narrow upper jaw. It gently widens the upper arch (palate) by stretching the center palatal connective suture. Once widened, the suture knits together. This expander is prescribed only prior to completion of growth. A parent or the patient adjusts the expander daily as instructed, until the palate has been widened enough. It is then left in place for about six months without further adjustment while new bone fills the center palatal suture.

Before the expander feels comfortable, you may sense some initial pressure and expect:

  • To feel a tingling or itch under the appliance.
  • To feel a tingling sensation across the bridge of the nose.
  • To feel pressure in the cheek area.
  • To see a space appear between your upper two front teeth.

A special key is used to activate the expander:

  • Insert the key in its slot. It will not touch the roof of your mouth.
  • Push the key all the way from front to back.
  • Remove the key.
  • Turn as often as you have been instructed.

Since your appliance is cemented in, brush it as you would your teeth, paying attention to the bands that hold it in. Brush gently along the gum line to remove the plaque. Brush after eating and at bedtime.

Call our office for an appointment if:

  • A band feels loose.
  • You experience unusual symptoms.