Rapid Palatal Expanders
Receiving orthodontic treatment at a young age is one technique to correct or prevent malocclusions (bad bites). Beginning treatment throughout childhood is advantageous since treatment will be more successful during the child’s natural development. For this form of treatment and prevention, a palatal expander is the right orthodontic appliance.
An expander/ Rapid Maxillary Expander (RME) / Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is an appliance that is glued (with orthodontic cement) into the patient’s mouth that widens the palate, creating more room for permanent teeth.
Once in the child’s mouth, the expander gradually widens the upper jaw to treat or prevent malocclusions. It is a simple and acceptable procedure. It is particularly effective in youngsters due to the gradual union of the upper jaw’s two parts. This increases the effectiveness of the Rapid Palatal Expander. Before puberty, the two bones can be gradually separated and more readily stabilized during treatment.
How does an expander work?
There are a few different designs for these expanders, but all of them have a center screw that has to be turned with a key. The number of turns will be determined specifically for each patient, and a ‘prescription’ for turning will be given to you at the delivery of your expander.
The expander is turned or “activated” by placing the key into the keyhole in the center screw and then gently pushing the key towards the back of the mouth one notch. The screw and key are self-limiting, so it stops after one turn. The key is designed so that you will not poke or hurt the patient when turning correctly. After the turning, the front teeth will usually begin to separate. Don’t panic. This is a good sign and means the appliance is doing its job! Likewise, don’t worry if space does not appear between front teeth; depending on the amount and location of crowding, room may not appear. After we’ve achieved the desired expansion, you’ll continue to wear the appliance to allow the bone to fill in. This process takes about four months from the date of the last turn, but your orthodontist will determine when your expander will be removed based on your individual treatment plan.
What to Expect During Expander Treatment
The following are some scenarios that you and your child may encounter. These are normal and indicate that the expanders are functioning properly. The more unpleasant symptoms are just brief while the body adjusts to the new treatment. Don’t be alarmed if your youngster exhibits any of the following symptoms.
- Pressure sensation
- At first, speaking and eating felt strange.
- A minor space between the front teeth