Palatal Expander

palatal expander modelThe palate widening appliance is a specially made device used to expand the upper arch or roof of the mouth. There are several reasons to widen the arch. First, by widening the upper arch, the upper teeth may line up better with the lower teeth, giving the patient a better bite. Second, where a high palate and a narrow arch restricts the breathing passages located above, widening the palate widens the air passages. Then the patient can breathe more easily through the nose. Third, widening the palate can make more room for crowded teeth to align better. 

The expanding action of the appliance gently separates the elastic membrane in the center of the palate. Once the palate has been expanded fully, new bone tissue fills that space. The upper arch is usually expanded enough in 15 to 20 days. However, the appliance is allowed to remain in the mouth for a longer period, while new bone is generating in the expanded arch. You will quickly adjust to eating and talking during the first week your expander is in place. 

You'll notice that widening the palate also temporarily causes a space between the two front teeth. Do not be alarmed. The space closes again naturally. Also, the same pressure on the roof of the mouth may cause a tingling sensation at the bridge of the nose. Usually, any over-the-counter Acetaminophen pain reliever will effectively relieve discomfort. lf it does not, call the office so we can check your appliance carefully.

For most people this procedure is not painful, though there may be some initial discomfort and some feeling of 'pressure' as the arch expands. This pressure causes a tingling or an itch under the appliance. 
Once we have cemented the palate widening device in place, it is you who will activate it. This is done once or twice every day, once in the morning and once in the evening, unless we direct you otherwise. 

Activate the Appliance

You can also download these instructions in a printable PDF document.

Step 1

Step 1

Carefully insert the key into the hole or slot in the middle of the appliance as shown. 

Step 2

Step 2

Gently and steadily push on the blue pad from the front toward the back of your mouth. Do not back up. Remove the key toward the throat. You automatically bring a new keyhole position forward by pushing the key as far back as possible. lt will be ready for the next activation. 

As a parent, it is your responsibility to:

  • Activate the appliance, closely follow the schedule and instructions given by the orthodontist, and be regular! lt is important not to rush or delay the activation of the appliance. 
  • Be sure the appliance is carefully cleaned each time you brush. This and the use of an oral irrigation device and mouthwash will keep the appliance free of food and prevent irritation. 
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