Palatal Expanders


The palatal expander is an orthodontic appliance used to widen the roof of your mouth. It is attached to the upper molars by bonded bands and works by putting gradual pressure on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure gently expands the palate and new bone is generated in its place.

Why do I need an expander?

  • The upper jaw is too narrow to properly fit with the lower jaw.
  • The upper teeth are too crowded.

How long will treatment take?

  • Expansion can take up to a month to complete.
  • To allow new bone to grow in the expanded area, the expander is kept in place up to 8 months.

Will I feel the roof of my mouth expanding?

  • In the beginning, you may feel some pressure that results in a tingling or itching sensation under the appliance.
  • You may also feel a tingling sensation on the bridge of your nose.
  • During expansion, you may develop a space between your two front teeth. This is normal and will close again naturally.

What special precautions should I take while wearing the expander?

  • Be very careful around the appliance when brushing your teeth.
  • To keep your mouth clean of food particles that can irritate, we recommend rinsing with Listerine.
  • If you experience any discomfort, we recommend taking Advil.

How do I activate the expander?

Activate the expander as directed – usually once in the morning and once in the evening.

  • Activate the expander according to instructions. This must be done by you or one of your parents.
  • Carefully insert the key into the center hole in the middle of the expander.
  • Then gently push the key and turn it toward the back of your mouth – toward the throat. By pushing the key as far back as possible, a new key hole comes into position and it is now ready for the next activation.

Hatcher Orthodontics

  • 3253 Taylor Rd., Suite 100 | Chesapeake, VA 23321 | Phone: 757-488-6080
  • 940 Cedar Rd., Suite 104 | Chesapeake, VA 23322 | Phone: 757-606-1387

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