What is an expander?
Your new appliance is called a Palatal Expander. It is designed to widen your upper jaw (maxilla). This widening may be necessary to correct a cross-bite or to create enough space for your teeth.
What does my expander do?
The upper jaw is made up of two bones, right and left, separated by a suture down the middle of the palate. This suture is pliable in children and allows the upper jaw to widen.
How often should I turn my expander?
The amount of expansion required is different for every person. Your doctor will customize the amount of expansion that is best for you. Typically, it will take 2 to 3 weeks of turning the expander 2 or 3 times per day to achieve optimal results. It is important that you follow the doctor’s instructions and if you have any questions, please call the office.
What should I expect after I turn my expander?
Patients usually experience some pressure or tenderness near the bridge of the nose and out toward the cheekbones. This is very normal. Tylenol or Advil may be helpful for this. You will most likely notice a space developing between the upper front teeth. This also is normal and is a good sign that the palatal bones are widening. Some people only experience a small space, while others notice a significant space. Do not be alarmed. Once you have completed your expansion, the space will begin closing naturally.
What should I do if I miss my next appointment?
If you should have to change your first appointment after receiving your expander, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you STOP turning your expander. This will help prevent the chance that the upper jaw is widened too much. IF YOU SHOULD MISS YOUR NEXT APPOINTMENT, PLEASE STOP TURNING ON THAT DATE.
How long will I wear the expander?
Typically the expander is left in place for 4 to 6 months after adequate expansion is achieved. This allows the expander suture to fill in with bone and decreases the chance that the upper jaw will lose some of its expansion. Be sure to keep your expander very clean and avoid hard or sticky foods. Long, stringy foods such as spaghetti or roast beef will need to be cut into shorter lengths.