Palatal Expander

Boy with bracesA “palatal expander” is an appliance that is designed to expand the upper jaw and teeth. It is sometimes used with a lower expanding appliance on the bottom teeth. These appliances are used to gain needed space for the alignment of teeth and to form the normal shape and size of the jaws.

Please remember:

  • Turn the threaded screw mechanism with the key once each morning and once each evening.
  • Insert the key into the most forward hold of the expander. With constant pressure, slowly push the key toward the back of the mouth until the screw no longer turns. (You will notice the hold for the next turn has appeared).
  • When removing the key, be sure not to turn back the screw. Pull the key straight out of the hole toward the back of the mouth.
  • A sensation of pressure will be felt during the first several turns. This is normal. If it becomes uncomfortable, stop turning and call our office. Warm salt water rinses and a mild analgesic may be used if needed. Never turn more than the doctor has prescribed.
  • A large space may develop between the upper front teeth. This is normal and indicates that jaw expansion is occurring. The space will close after a few weeks once the turning has stopped.
  • Avoid sticky, gummy, chewy or hard foods. No gum or popcorn, please. Brush the appliance thoroughly when brushing teeth after each meal.
  • Speech and eating patterns will improve after a few days. Please call if you have any questions.