Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)

Rapid Palatal Expansion (RPE) is for patients whose upper jaw is narrow. Your Rapid Palatal Expander gently widens the upper arch (palate) by stretching the center palatal connective suture. Once widened, the suture knits together. A parent or the patient adjusts the Rapid Palatal Expander daily as instructed, until the palate has been widened enough. The appliance will then remain in the mouth for approximately 4 - 6 months.



Things you may experience during the first few days:

  • Tingling or itching under the expander.
  • Tingling sensation across the bridge of the nose.
  • Pressure in the cheek area.
  • A space between the two upper front teeth which will close over the next few weeks.

A special key is used to activate the Rapid Palatal Expander:

  • Insert the key into the key slot: the key will not touch the roof of the mouth.
  • Push the key all the way from the front to back. Look for the next hole to rotate forward enough so you will be able to place the key into the next hole to turn your Rapid Palatal Expander the next time.
  • Turn as you have been instructed.
  • Remove the key.

Remember to help keep your appliance intact and clean:

  • Use a regular toothbrush.
  • Brush as usual, giving special attention to the teeth with bands.
  • Use a water rinse to flush under the expander.
  • The use of a waterpik is helpful to dislodge food particles that can become caught in the expander.
  • Do not eat any ice, and hard, crunchy and sticky foods.
  • A cold beverage or soft ice cream immediately after activating the appliance may help decrease the discomfort.