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“Did you know that the first written report of a

palate expander dates back to the year 1860?”

 Palate Expander

A palate expander (or maxillary expansion appliance) is a device that is fixed on the teeth, used to widen the upper jaw (maxilla) so that upper and lower teeth will fit together better. This is a common orthodontic procedure indicated for the correction of a posterior crossbite (=a bite problem where the upper back teeth fit on the inside of the lower back teeth when biting.) The expander works by using a key to gradually turn a screw mechanism at the center of the expander. Typically, as the screw is gradually turned, a gap forms between the upper front teeth. This is absolutely normal. The gap typically reduces to its pre-treatment size a few weeks after we stop turning the screw.

Expansion of the maxilla is easily performed before the midpalatal suture (=the junction between the left and right sides of the upper jawbone) fuses (around the age of 14 years). When expansion of the maxilla is indicated in adults, a surgical procedure may be necessary to allow the expansion to take place.

In kids, palate expanders are typically activated daily until the desired expansion is reached. Following this, the appliance is maintained in place for an additional 6 months as new bone is created where the suture was expanded. After the palate expander is removed, Dr. Dask may recommend wearing a night-time retainer for several months to maintain the correction.

Step 1

In a well-lit area tip the patient’s head back.

Step 2

Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.

Step 3

Pushing the key towards 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.

Step 4

By pushing back and down towards the tongue, remove the key. The next hole for insertion of the key should now be visible.

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