An expander is used for several reasons. The most common are to correct a crossbite of the upper and lower back teeth; the upper teeth are behind the lower teeth or are too narrow in the mouth. Many patients may also have crowding – not enough room for all the upper and lower teeth in the mouth.
The expander must be worn full time when the screw is being turned for expansion. This can take 3-6 months. Then when then expansion is completed it must be worn for an additional 3 months as a retainer to hold the teeth in the new position and prevent them from shifting back. After 9-12 months of wearing time, the doctor will determine if the expander will need to still be worn.
Most people will speak "funny" for several days, but this will improve with time. There may be a plastic taste with new expanders. Soak it in mouthwash to improve the taste.
Hyrax Palatal Expander
The Hyrax palatal expander is an orthodontic appliance that actually widens the upper jawbone. Some patients, who need to wear a facemask, may also wear rubber bands from the expander. The Hyrax Expander is attached to the teeth with stainless steel rings called 'bands'.
At first the expander feels very strange. It is a rather large appliance and it will take a couple of days to get used to it. Speaking, eating and swallowing will all feel different. You can practice reading out loud to get used to it faster. Some people temporarily produce more saliva. All these changes will go away with time.
Haas Palatal Expander
The Haas Expander is attached to the teeth with stainless steel rings called 'bands'.
At first the expander feels very strange. It is a rather large appliance and it will take a couple of days to get used to it. Speaking, eating, and swallowing will all feel different. You can practice reading out loud to get used to it faster. Some people temporarily produce more saliva. All these changes will go away with time.
The expander gently widens the jaw by using a small screw that is in the middle of the expander. Someone in your family will turn the screw once or twice a day depending on the instructions the doctor gives you. Never turn more than 28 turns without seeing the doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Call us right away!! There are many things that we can do to help you and your retainer.
It makes your top teeth “tight”. Slight to moderate soreness is to be expected. This will normally only last 10 to15 minutes. You may feel pressure above the mouth and around the nose.
Most patients will see a temporary gap form between the upper two front teeth (incisors). This is a sign that the expander is working! Don’t worry the extra space will close up in about 6-8 weeks after we have stopped turning the expander.
Each patient’s needs are different, but in general the expander screw is turned for 2 to 4 weeks. The expander must remain in the mouth for a total of 4-5 months while the bone adjust to the new position.
You will need to brush the expander on the top and the sides 3-5 times a day. You can use a proxy brush to get in those difficult areas. We may also give you a Fluoride Rinse called Phos-Flur to be used once a day at night after brushing.
- Hole where the key goes in is "lost" and cannot be turned.
- Rarely, the expander comes loose. If this happens stop turning the screw and call the office immediately.