Palatal Expander

palatal expander modelThe palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for at least three months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression. The animation below the instructions will additionally instruct you about how to adjust your expander.

Adjusting the palatal expander

  • The “key” that we gave you fits into the center of the appliance.  After inserting it into the hole push it all the way to the back.  It is important that you move the key as far back as it will go or it will be difficult to find the hole the next time.  DO NOT turn the key back towards the front of the mouth.

  • Please follow the suggested schedule.  Too many turns may cause discomfort.  Too few turns may not produce the desired result.

  • It is normal to feel some tightness or discomfort after each turn.  If necessary, take an Advil or Tylenol. 

  • A fairly large space will open between the upper front teeth as you continue opening the appliance. Don’t be alarmed – it means that everything is working! Once you’ve stopped widening the appliance, the space will close naturally over the next few weeks. 

  • After meals and snacks, brush all surfaces of the expander, including all metal parts and the bands around the upper molar teeth. Rinse with mouthwash and/or water to dislodge any food that remains. Swelling may occur around the molars, this could have been caused by trapped food.

Solutions: Rinse with warm salt water and brush thoroughly several times a day.

  • Although it is rare, if the expansion appliance becomes partially detached from your teeth, stop turning the appliance, keep it in place as best as you can and call our office as soon as possible during office hours. Your child’s appliance may become loose and/or damaged if they do not follow the suggested food items to avoid.

Foods to avoid while appliance/expander is cemented:

  • Sticky foods: Taffy, caramels, starbursts, gum, etc.

  • Hard foods: popcorn, nuts, hard candies, etc.

  • Avoid chewing on pens, pencils, and fingernails.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us.

Step 1

Step 1

In a well-lit area, tip the patient's head back.

Step 2

Step 2

Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.

Step 3

Step 3

Push the key toward the back of the mouth. You will notice the fender will rotate and the new hole will appear. The rotation stops when the key meets the back of the expander.

Step 4

Step 4

Press back and down toward the tongue to remove the key. The next hole for insertion of the key should now be visible.

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