About Your Palatal Expander

What Does it Do?
Your palatal expander acts to gently expand and increase the width of your upper arch.

What Does it Look Like?
Although palatal expanders can have many different forms, they all have certain elements in common. Palatal expanders may be either removable or fixed in place. All expanders are connected to the upper teeth by either clasps or bands. All expanders have an expansion screw or coil incorporated into the appliance. It is this screw or coil that generates the gentle forces necessary to achieve the needed expansion.

Taking Care of Your Palatal Expander
In general, there are two major areas of concern now that you have been fitted with your palatal expansion appliance: eating habits and keeping your appliance clean. You should avoid any hard, sticky, or chewy foods which have the potential to distort, crack, or loosen the appliance. You should brush your appliance in addition to your teeth with cool water and toothpaste immediately after eating. If your expansion appliance is removable, never place your appliance into anything that is hotter than you would put your hands in, as your appliance will be distorted from the heat and no longer fit properly. Denture cleaners (Polident/Efferdent) may also be used occasionally, in addition to brushing if necessary. Never soak your appliance in any solution which is caustic or soapy, as the appliance will absorb a small amount of the solution resulting in the appliance acquiring the taste and smell of the solution and possibly resulting in tissue irritation. Should you feel the need to disinfect your appliance, you may soak it for several minutes in Listerine. Should your expansion appliance ever become loose or broken, contact us immediately, so that arrangements can be made to have it repaired.

Some Things to Expect
Like anything new, a period of adjustment is natural and to be expected. As your arch expands, your teeth may be sore for a few days. You may also notice a small space open between your front teeth as a consequence of the expansion, this is normal and to be expected. This space will close naturally within a few weeks as the elastic fibers present in your gums contract to bring the teeth back into contact. Some bruising or discoloration between the front teeth can also occur as the gum tissue in that region is stretched. This, too, is natural and will return to normal in a few days. Remember, after a few days, you can expect to feel 100% better - so keep smiling!

As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!

George H. Nahas, D.D.S.
Thomas J. Donahue, D.M.D.