Rapid Palatal Expander
A palate expander is an appliance that fits near the roof of the mouth (palate). It widens the palate to improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together and can widen a narrow upper jaw. When patients are still growing, the upper jaw is very responsive to expansion and can create room to correct crowding and often alleviates the need to remove teeth.
Expanders may be removable or fixed. A vast majority of orthodontic specialists use fixed or non-removable expanders due to their greater efficiency, predictability and the inability to get lost, misplaced or not worn. By simply activating the expander through turning a screw in the center, with a special key we provide, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves of the jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width.
While your expander may take a few days to get used to, most patients tolerate the appliance very well. Chewing, swallowing, and talking may seem awkward. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help you feel better at the beginning. After about a week or so, you may see gaps form between your front teeth - a sign that the expander is working. These gaps do not form in some patients or they may close on their own. After the expander has stopped being turned the gaps may close and this is not a sign that expansion has been lost. The teeth have elastic fibers between them that sometimes move the teeth back together at different rates. You will wear your expander for approximately 3 months.