Palatal Expander

Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is an appliance used for patients who have a narrow upper jaw. A narrow upper jaw causes crowding of teeth, problems with tooth eruption and can result in a crossbite. The palatal expander gently widens the upper arch (palate). Once the palate is widened, the area fills in with newly formed bone. This appliance is prescribed while the patient is still growing thus enabling us to take advantage of the growth phase. A parent or the patient will turn the key once a day for usually a month until the palate has been widened enough.

An impression is taken of the upper arch and the expander is custom made for each patient. As the key is turned you may feel some initial pressure. This is normal and will be present for a few days.

Maxillary expansion is used to treat:

Crossbite — A crossbite occurs when the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth because the upper jaw is too narrow to fit correctly with the lower jaw. This can also cause misaligned jaw growth.

Crowding — Crowding occurs when teeth have insufficient room to erupt from the gum. Widening the upper jaw can create the necessary space without the need for tooth extractions.

Impacted Teeth — A tooth becomes impacted when it has not erupted and is blocked by other teeth. By widening the upper jaw, room is made for the teeth to erupt in its proper position.

Symptoms you may experience:

  1. Under the expander — tingling or itching
  2. Across the bridge of your nose — tingling
  3. Cheek area — pressure sensation
  4. Spacing developing between the upper front teeth

Expander Instructions:

  1. To allow for enough room for access, the patient should lean his/her head backwards and open as wide as possible. This also helps with lighting.
  2. Find the key hole and insert the key. It is important to make sure it is secure.
  3. Push the key in to the back so the cylinder with the keyhole rotates back. Gently turn the key until you see the next hole to be visible at the front.
  4. Remove the key.