Palatal Expansion Appliance
What the Appliance Does
The palatal expander expands or separates the palate (roof of the mouth) to create additional space in order to accommodate the teeth. Most patients have a skeletal enlargement of the palate.
Activation of the Appliance
Place the key into the hole of the expansion cylinder. Push the key down and backward (toward the tongue) until the next hole on the cylinder is visible. Dr. Komoroski will designate how many turns you will need. It’s best to turn the appliance at the same time every day.
What to Expect
- Patient may have excess salivation for the first 3-5 days.
- Speech may be slurred for the first few days. Once the tongue acclimates to the appliance- speech returns to normal. Practicing reading out loud is helpful for some patients.
- Patient may experience tightness or pressure at the middle of the roof of the mouth, under the nose, at the bridge of the nose, and/or under the cheekbones.
- Any discomfort should be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers (Tylenol, Children’s Ibuprofen, Motrin, etc.)
- Spacing between the front teeth and sometimes the back teeth may develop. This is common.
- Brush with toothbrush and toothpaste
- Used proxy brush to clean around the wires and along the gum line.
- Gentle rinsing with water maybe useful in cleansing under the plastic portion of the appliance. Rinsing with salt water or mouthwash is acceptable.
- Use of a Water-PikTM is beneficial. Use only on the lowest setting.
- Patient can floss around most teeth.
Things to Watch For
- Occasionally some of the cement may dislodge from the appliance. The cement is white and may be mistake for tooth structure.
- While activating the expander and/or cleaning, check any loops in the back of the appliance. Infrequently theses wires may encroach on the tissue of the roof of the mouth as the teeth move. Any swelling in this area should be brought to Dr. Komoroski’s attention immediately.
- In rare instances the middle wire/strut of the expander may break due to chewing hard foods. The appliance is still functional and there is no cause for alarm.
- Please do not eat any popcorn or anything that can get lodged under the expander.
- A soft diet and smaller bites are recommended until the patient gets used to swallowing.
- Avoid eating stringy type foods until the patient gets used to swallowing with the expander in place.
- When the expander is done being turned/activated, the spacing in the front teeth may close. This is normal and does not mean that the expansion is contracting.
When the expander is removed, the palate will often feel soft, spongy or even lumpy. The palatal tissue recuperates within a few days to its normal pink and firm consistency.