free hit counters
Palate Expander to Correct Posterior Crossbites
Dental Health Care Guides

Palate Expander to Correct Posterior Crossbites

A palate expander, also called as RPE, stands for Rapid Palatal Expander is a dental device used to correct posterior crossbites. It is needed when your upper teeth are on the inside of the lower one. This makes the lower jaw to grow asymmetrically. RPE is applied through a surgery. It is usually done at a younger age. During the surgery, an oral surgeon will open the palatal suture and insert the expander.  After the surgery, the most oral surgeon will activate the expander but some orthodontists let the patients do it.

types of palatal expanders palate expander to correct posterior crossbites

How to Turn Palate Expander

Activating or turning palatal expander is not difficult but this should be done by a parent or guardian. Do not let your kid do it himself. Patients will get a small wire to turn the expander. The wire often comes with a plastic handle. If you are a parent and you should turn the expander, ask your kid to lay down on a bed. Make sure the room has good light so you can see the expander clearly. Find the front hole of the expander and place the wire into it. The expanders can be turned once to twice a day for several days. Then, you should see your orthodontist evaluate the position of the jaw. When the crossbite is eliminated, your orthodontist will allow stopping turning the expander.

Stopping turning the expander does not mean that the RPE is removed. It will be still there for around three months or until the palatal suture becomes steady. During the expansion, you may see a space formed between central incisors. You don’t need to be worried about this as it is normal and not a side effect of the expansion. Soon after the RPE is stopped turning, the teeth will be pulled by the gun tissue, eliminating the gap between them.

There are three common types of expanders. The first one is Hyrac palatal expander. Many patients love it because it does not become dirty easily. Unlike Hyrac, Haas expander, the second type, is hard to keep clean and it cannot be removed. As a result, food and plaque buildup on it causing tissue inflammation. Besides, it causes swelling not comfortable. You may prefer a removable palatal expander. However, this type is considered less efficient than the two aforementioned expanders since it just tips the posterior teeth, not reaching the bone.

So, if you have a posterior crossbite and plan to use the expander, you can consult your orthodontist first. You might be wondering whether this expander hurts. No, it does not. It is true that you will feel pressure but it is not painful. Try not to wiggle the device because it can make it loose and come off. Very few patients get bleeding in their nose after turning the expander. This is very rare and usually does not lead to serious problem. If the nose bleed goes under control, see your orthodontist. During the expansion, patients need to avoid hard and sticky food. In addition, they should brush the expander to keep it clean.

image: johnsdental.com