Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)
Why: The purpose of this appliance is to widen (expand) your upper jaw (palate). The key we gave you fits in the tiny hole in the middle of your appliance. We will have you insert the key into the appliance and push the key back towards the back of the mouth until you see the next hole rotate forward. This allows the key to be inserted into the appliance for the next turn. You will then need to pull the key out towards the back (if you pull the key out to the front it will undo the turn you just did).
We typically ask that you turn the appliance as prescribed 1 time per day. It is best to do it at the same time every day. If a turn is missed, we ask that you continue with the next scheduled turn. The missed turn will be made up at the end of the turning schedule.
What to expect: It is normal to feel pressure for a few minutes when the expander is activated. However, if you feel significant discomfort, pain, or dizziness, stop turning the appliance and call our office. It is likely that a space will open between the front teeth as the appliance widens the arch. Don’t be alarmed; this is an expected change. The space will disappear as the front teeth come back together after the desired expansion has occurred.
Eating can be a challenge in the beginning. You will find it best to cut your food into small bite size pieces. As with all braces, you need to avoid hard foods (ice, jaw breakers, etc.) and sticky foods (caramels, taffies, etc.)
How Long: We expect the appliance to stay in place for 3-4 months after you have completed your last turn.
If a band loosens from the tooth, we ask that you call our office so we may re-cement the expander. Discontinue turning until you have been seen in our office. If the expander comes completely out, we ask that you call our office immediately. If the office is closed, please page us at the number listed on the phone message. If you have any questions about this appliance, please text or call our office.