What is a dental expander?
In short, a dental expander expands your mouth! If someone has a narrow upper jaw, the dental expander or rapid palatal expander (RPE) widens the upper arch of the mouth. The dental expander is a screw attached to the top back teeth with molar bands. We’ll incrementally expand the screw to separate the left and right sides of the upper palate to widen the mouth.
What issues can a palate expander fix?
In a good, healthy bite, the top teeth should rest comfortably and snugly with the bottom teeth — covering them like a cap on a bottle lid. Sometimes, the upper palate is too narrow to achieve the ideal bite. Malocclusion, shifting or traumatic bites can occur when the upper jaw is too narrow to fit the bottom jaw. A dental expander can fix:
- Crossbites: A crossbite occurs when the upper jaw is too narrow to fit the lower jaw, resulting in a posterior crossbite — when the top back teeth bite inside the lower back teeth.
- Crowding: Crowding occurs when the mouth is too small to accommodate all teeth. A palate expander will widen the mouth to fix crowding and prevent the need for tooth extractions.
- Impacted teeth: Impacted teeth can occur in children when there isn’t enough space in the mouth to allow new tooth growth.
Do dental expanders hurt?
When you first receive your dental expander, you may experience discomfort due to the new pressure on your teeth, upper jaw, cheeks and nose. You might also experience a slight headache when we widen the dental expander — this feeling is normal as your mouth adjusts. However, your comfort and safety are important to us. If something doesn’t feel quite right, please let us know.
Caring for your expander
Caring for your dental expander is a lot like caring for a set of braces. Each time you brush your teeth, make sure to brush the palatal expander as well. Be sure to clean your expander after you’ve eaten a meal, too. Then, rinse your mouth with water to wash away any leftover food particles.
Experience quality orthodontic care
In Duncanville and Grand Prairie, Texas, families want premier care and quality treatment. Our American Board of Orthodontics (ABO)-certified orthodontists at Henderson Orthodontics take pride in offering clinical excellence and an outstanding patient experience with every patient, every time. We take care of your family like they’re our own — because when you partner with us, you become a part of the Henderson family.