Rapid Palatal Expander


This special appliance (usually attached with bands) widens the roof of your mouth by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made.

Why is this sometimes necessary?

  • To expand the upper jaw for a proper fit with the lower jaw.
  • To make room for crowded teeth.

How long will it take?

  • This usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks to achieve our expansion.
  • The appliance remains in place for a total of 5-7 months to allow new bone to generate in your expanded jaw. 

Will I feel it moving?

  • You may sense some initial discomfort and pressure, causing a tingling or itch under the appliance. 
  • A tingling sensation may occur on the bridge of your nose.
  • You will see a temporary space between your two front teeth.  Do not be alarmed.  The space closes again naturally, or we may close it with braces.

What should I do during the expansion period?

  • Use your toothbrush carefully around the special appliance.
  • Use Listerine to help with any irritation and to keep your mouth free of food particles.
  • Take pain reliever for any discomfort.

How is the appliance activated?
Once Dr. Adams has cemented the R.P.E., it is the parent who will activate it.  This is done AT LEAST ONCE EACH DAY, depending on the doctor’s instructions. 

  • Your parents must activate your appliance as instructed.  It is much easier   to have your parent do it (than yourself) by having you lay your head in his/her lap.  Lean your head back so your parent can see the top of your mouth.
  • Insert the key carefully into the hole or slot in the middle front part of your appliance.
  • Push the key gently and steadily from the front toward the back of your mouth.  The key will swivel in a circle.  DO NOT BACK UP.  Remember the key moves toward the throat.  As it rotates, you automatically bring a new key hold position forward by pushing the key as far back as possible.
  • Gently wiggle the key towards the throat until it comes out of the hole.  Keep the key in a safe place until the next day.