A palatal expander is used to widen the roof of the mouth in a patient with a narrow palate. It is a non-removable appliance bonded to the permanent molars. Using a special key, the patient and or parent is responsible for activating the RPE on a basis pre-determined by Dr. Montano. Activation requires turning the screw portion on the appliance with the key. This is usually done on a daily basis until the desired amount of turns has been achieved. Dr. Montano and his staff will instruct you on how many turns need to be made and show you step by step how to activate the expander.
The most common occurrence with the expander is opening space between the front teeth as the palate expands. This is only temporary and will be addressed once complete expansion has occurred. Occasionally, there may be pressure in the sinus area for a few days. Food can get stuck between the palate and the appliance, making brushing and rinsing after every meal necessary. During the first few days after placement, you may notice a change in speech or excessive saliva; these are normal and temporary and will lessen the more you talk. As with anything new, it takes time to get used to it. If you miss a turn, continue with only one turn per day until all turns have been completed. Never double up on turns! If the appliance ever feels loose, do not continue with any additional turns and contact the office as soon as possible.