Palatal Expanders Explained

We are all born with two sets of teeth. After you lose your baby teeth, your adult teeth will make their way through the gums. Sometimes your upper jaw is not wide enough to accommodate all of your adult teeth. A palatal expander is an orthodontic appliance we use to widen your upper jaw.

What Does An Expander Do?

An expander stretches the bone/cartilage of the palate to expand the arch in an effort to prevent crowding and cross bites. You could notice spacing between the teeth during you or your childs time with a Palatal Expander, this is a good thing! This simply means the upper jaw is widening and making more room.

Our team will fit the patient with molar bands (metal rings that sit around the molar). After we find bands that fit, we take an impression of you upper jaw with the molar bands in place. The impression accompanied with the molar bands is sent to the lab to be made into a Palate expander. The expander is simply attached to the molar bands to ensure it fits your mouth.

How Does My Palatal Expander Work?

Once your expander is ready, our office typically asks you to come in a few days before insertion to have separators put in. We do this in order to make sure there is enough room for the molar bands to fit the molars.  The molar bands of the expander are cemented onto to your molars.

How Will I Feel With My Palatal Expander?

At first, you will be very aware of your mouth’s brand new tenant. Furthermore, you might notice a lisp for a small period of time but this isn’t permanent. Our team will often have you practice taking sips of water in order to adjust to drinking with the expander. Avoid any chewy foods and any sticky foods! (Review our ‘Foods to Avoid’ list here)

Caring For Your Palatal Expander

While brushing your teeth, be sure to brush the expander. Once food becomes stuck in the expander, the keyhole becomes blocked making it difficult to insert the key into the expander to successfully turn it.

Questions or Concerns?

If you feel that something just isn’t exactly right, you are unable to insert the key into the expander or the appliance is falling out, please contact our office.