Palate Expanders

The palatal expansion appliance will be attached securely to four teeth and will be activated by one-quarter turn of a stainless steel expansion screw twice daily for approximately 10 days to three weeks. After the midpalatal suture has been expanded sufficiently to correct the dental crossbite (a treatment decision that is determined by the Doctor) we will stabilize the appliance for a period of three months while new bone can fill in along the expanded midpalatal suture.

At the end of three months, the appliance will be removed and a decision regarding whether or not a retainer will be necessary and whether or not new diagnostic records will be taken then or at another time will be determined.

The midpalatal suture expansion appliance is quite difficult to keep clean and it is suggested that a water pick type appliance is utilized to flush the area between the plastic support and the palatal tissue in order to minimize tissue inflammation for a possible infection.

The utilization of midpalatal suture expansion is usually quite non traumatic and we hope that treatment is completed successfully and uneventfully.


The palate expanding appliance is a specially made device used to expand the upper arch or roof of the mouth. There are several reasons to widen the arch. First, by widening the upper arch, the upper teeth may line up better with the lower teeth, giving the patient a better bite. Second, where a high palate and a narrow arch restrict the breathing passages located above, widening the palate widens the air passages. Third, widening the palate can make more room for crowded teeth to align better.

During your consult it was explained that the expanding action of the appliance gently separates the elastic membrane in the center of the palate. The process of expansion takes place over a period of approximately 10 days to 3 weeks depending on how much expansion is needed. The doctor will determine when expansion is complete and the appliance is then stabilized. The appliance stays in the mouth an additional 3 months while new bone is generated in the expanded arch.

You will notice that widening the palate also temporarily causes a space between the two front teeth. Do not be alarmed, the space closes again naturally. How will the appliance feel?

The same pressure on the roof of the mouth may cause a tingling sensation at the bridge of the nose. Usually any over-the-counter Acetaminophen pain reliever will effectively relieve discomfort. If it does no, call the office so we can check your appliance carefully. For most people this procedure is not painful, though there may be some initial discomfort and some feeling of “pressure” as the arch expands. This pressure causes a tingling or an itch under the appliance.


  • Once the orthodontist has cemented the appliance, it is YOU who will activate it.
  • This is done TWICE every day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
To activate the appliance:
  • Be sure to loop the string attached to the key around your finger or wrist. This is an important precaution to prevent the patient from accidentally swallowing the key.
  • Carefully insert the key in the hole is the middle of the appliance.
  • Gently and steadily push the key from the front of the mouth toward the back of the mouth. DO NOT BACK UP. Remove the key toward the throat. You automatically bring a new keyhole position forward by pushing the key as far back as possible. It will now be ready for the next activation.


  • Be sure the appliance is carefully cleaned each time you brush.
  • Use an oral irrigation device (water pik) and mouthwash and you will keep the appliance free of food and prevent irritation.

DO NOT eat anything chewy, sticky or hard. These foods will break the cement seal and cause the appliance to become loose.