Your Palatal Expander

What is a Palatal Expander?

A palatal expander is an appliance that fits into the roof of the mouth (palate). It widens the palate to make room for crowded teeth and improve jaw function. The expander is typically worn for approximately three to six months. During the first few weeks, you (or Dr. Cardarelli) may activate (expand) the appliance to achieve desired result.

Activating the Expander

Initially, most expanders need to be activated one or two times a day, for approximately two weeks. Detailed instructions will be given in the video below; however, the prescription will vary from one patient to another.

What You Can Expect

Chewing, swallowing and talking may seem awkward at first. The mouth and nose may be sore or may tingle, with occasional slight headache. Over-the-counter analgesics will relieve any discomfort.

Within a week, you may notice gaps between the teeth. This is a sign the appliance is working and the palate is being widened. Most patients require full treatment (braces) following palatal expansion.

Caring For Your Expander

The expander should be brushed whenever the teeth are brushed. Swishing with warm water or using a Water-Pik after eating will help free any debris that may be trapped under the appliance. Removable expanders should be brushed and rinsed each time the appliance is taken out of the mouth.