If Dr. Murphy determines your child has an upper jaw that is not growing wide enough for an optimal airway, tongue posture, and permanent tooth spacing, your child may benefit from a palatal expander.
The expander is custom-made for your child's mouth and works to gently “expand” (or widen) the developing upper jaw by putting slight pressure on the upper molars each time an adjustment is made. The illustrations below show how the expander is adjusted. We typically recommend turning the expander two times a day for approximately two weeks to ensure your child is comfortable and has the best results.
When we achieve the desired expansion, the expander will continue to be worn for several months to maintain the growth we've achieved and to prevent regression.
Adjusting the palatal expander
You can also download these instructions in a printable PDF document.
In a well-lit area, tip the patient’s head back.
Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.
Push the key toward the back of the mouth. You will notice the fender will rotate and the new hole will appear. The rotation stops when the key meets the back of the expander.
Press back and down toward the tongue to remove the key. The next hole for the insertion of the key should now be visible.
*Children tolerate expansion very well! It does not hurt them, but parents sometimes worry about activating the expander. Our team will make sure that everyone is comfortable with the process and we are always happy to answer questions!*