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Correct Crossbite with a Palatal Expander

Palatal expander

What is a Rapid Palatal Expander?  An RPE is a fixed appliance that expands the upper arch to help correct cross bites and gain space.

How do they work?  By turning an expansion screw, pressure is applied across the roof of the mouth increasing the width of the upper jaw (maxilla).  

How do I activate the RPE?  Place the key in the hole in the front of the RPE and rotate it towards the back of the mouth until it stops.  Pull the key out towards the back of the mouth.  A new hole in front should now be visible. This counts as a single turn or activation.  If you have any difficulty please call the office.

How often do I activate the RPE?  For the best results please follow the doctor’s instructions.

How long will the RPE be in place? The amount of expansion each person needs varies.   After widening the arch the RPE will be left in place for 3-6 months to maintain expansion.

How will it feel?  The first few days after placement of the RPE will be an adjustment period. When the RPE is activated you may feel pressure on the teeth, the roof of the mouth & around the nose.  These feelings will decrease shortly after activation.  Treat any discomfort as you would a headache (Tylenol or ibuprofen as needed per the labels instructions).

What else can I expect?  You may notice a change in your speech after the RPE is placed.  This will improve as your tongue adjusts to the RPE, typically within 24-72 hours.  Reading out loud & speaking slowly will help with this.   It is also common to see a space open between your front teeth.  This is a good sign that expansion is taking place.  This space will close after the expansion has stopped.

What foods should I avoid with my RPE?  Please avoid sticky foods (caramels, taffy, tootsie rolls, etc.) that might pull the RPE loose, and hard foods that can bend the appliance.  

How do I take care of the RPE? During meals food may become trapped between the RPE and the roof of your mouth. Make sure to brush the area around the expander, and floss underneath it along the roof of your mouth.  A Water Pik can be very helpful keeping your RPE clean.  

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Very friendly warm and compassionate. They educated my son on how to care for his braces, what foods to avoid, how to clean and most of all, they are there even during any emergency including weekends. I highly recommend this Orthodontic practice to anyone who want a personal, friendly one on one relationship with their doctor. Thu M.

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