Rapid Palatal Expander
Upper jaw expansion is a form of orthodontic treatment that is used in specific cases. An expander is used to widen the upper jaw and decrease the amount of time you wear your braces. It can also create more space for your teeth to grow.
Why is a Palatal Expander Important?
The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. The animation below will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression
When is a Palatal Expander Needed?
This treatment is used when the upper jaw is too narrow to fit comfortably against the lower jaw; this results in a misaligned bite. Bite misalignments can cause several problems, especially for young children, including:
- Airway constriction
- Uneven wear on teeth
- Difficulty biting and chewing
- Difficulty pronouncing words and speaking clearly
- Crowded teeth are more difficult to clean and may develop cavities
How Does a Rapid Palatal Expander Work?
A rapid palatal expander is a small, delicate metal framework that fits into the top of the patient’s mouth. The two arms of the expander are attached to the inside of teeth with dental cement. This cement keeps the expander in place while it does its work. A small screw located in the center of the expander is gradually tightened over the course of treatment. It is turned with the help of a special key. A gentle pressure on the left and right sides of the upper jaw allows the palate tissues to move into the correct position. The connective tissue in the mouths of young patients is quite responsive to this treatment; bone growth will increase where the two halves meet and fix the new width in place. Once the palate has expanded to the correct position, the expander is held to stabilize, then removed about six weeks after turns have completed. Various types of follow up treatment might be required once the expander has been removed and our team at Stormberg Orthodontics will work with you and your child to help you understand any next steps.
How To Turn The Palatal Expander
To turn you or your child’s palatal expander, insert the key into the hole of the screw mechanism on the expander and push towards the back of the mouth. Once you see the next hole appear, you’ll know the turn is complete. Click here for more detailed instructions.
How it Works
1. Getting to Know You
We understand that choosing to receive orthodontic care is a big decision and your first visit to our office is the first step. At your initial consultation, we take complimentary x-rays and images of your teeth that lets us see what’s going on and perform a thorough examination of your teeth, mouth, and gums.
2. Custom Treatment Plan
We create completely customized treatment for each patient to ensure you reach your full smile potential! Our practice will work with you every step of the way to make sure your orthodontic care is as rewarding as possible. We utilize the latest technology, and offer a variety of safe and gentle treatment options to give you the customized, individual care you deserve.
3. Your New Smile
FAQs from Dr. Rosen
If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great time to see an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens.
About one in every five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any age is a good time to visit our office.