1. What is a palate expander?
The palate expansion appliance is a custom fit appliance designed to widen your upper teeth. It fits in the roof of the mouth and is cemented to the upper side teeth.
2. Is the expander removable?
No, the expander will stay in during the expansion procedure and for a three-month stabilization period following the expansion. Most patients will have the expander in place for four to six months.
3. Will I become accustomed to the expander?
Yes, however, it typically takes 24-48 hours to become comfortable with your new expander.
4. How does it work?
The expander has a center screw that works in a similar fashion as a car jack. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as a “Jack-Screw”. Turning the screw causes the appliance and the upper dental arch to widen.
5. Does the expander hurt?
While the placement of the expander will be uncomfortable, the actual turning of the screw should not hurt. If the expander ever causes pain when it is turned, immediately stop turning and notify the office.
6. What should I expect to see with my
In younger patients, a space may develop between the two upper front teeth. This is normal and means the appliance is functioning correctly. This space can sometimes get quite large, as much as 7mm, and is an indicator of a good result. Please do not be alarmed by the space, it is temporary, and will start to close as soon as the expander is fully opened.
In older patients, spacing of the front teeth is possible, but it is rarely seen. If spacing does occur, it is usually only 1-2mm. Sometimes the side teeth (where the expander connects) will tip outward toward the cheek.
Most expansion cases are “over-treated”. This is to allow for relapse after the expander is removed. Relapse is a fact of orthodontic life, and our experience shows the best way to treat and deal with relapse is to overcorrect. result of overcorrection, the upper teeth may have the appearance of being “too wide” immediately following the expansion procedure. Please do not be alarmed as this is a temporary condition.
7. What are the potential problems?
As previously noted, if the expander is turned too quickly, excessive pressure can result, which may cause pain or discomfort.
8. What should I do if it hurts?
9. What are the benefits of expansion?
- Stop turning immediately.
- If the pain/pressure does not resolve within an hour, try taking a turn off the appliance. This is done by inserting the key in the back of the appliance and turning forward. If done properly, this will almost always resolve the pain.
- Call the office for an appointment to evaluate the expander before placing any additional turns.
• Creates space for crowded front teeth.
• Corrects a cross-bite of the back teeth, if one was initially present
• Improves the width of the smile and its appearance
• Improves the airway if constriction of the nasal passages are blocking the airflow