Palatal expanders are used to widen the upper jaw to help upper and lower teeth fit together.
Not everyone that needs a rapid palatal expander needs to get braces, and not everyone who gets braces needs a palatal expander.
What is a Rapid Palatal Expander?
A rapid palatal expander is an orthodontic appliance that promotes proper tooth alignment.
It’s either a fixed or removable device that’s placed against the top or bottom palate. It changes the shape of a patient’s palate by slowly widening the top or bottom dental arch when they are too narrow. A narrow arch causes overcrowding of the teeth, making proper alignment difficult as the top and bottom teeth won’t fit together well.
Rapid palatal expanders are primarily used in adolescent orthodontic care with children 16 and younger, whose mouths are still very malleable. Leaving a narrow palate untreated could lead to a more involved tooth alignment process down the road.
How to Adjust a Rapid Palatal Expander
The palatal expander needs to be adjusted daily. Since it’s not practical to come into one of our offices seven days a week, patients must make the adjustments themselves with an activation key that we will provide.
Here is how to do it:
- Tilt the patient’s head in a way that exposes the adjustment portion of the expander
- Insert the key in the hole closest to the front of the mouth until it won’t go any farther
- Push the tool toward the back of the mouth until the next hole is visible
- When the next hole is visible remove the key by pulling it in the opposite direction of the expander
This process will be demonstrated to you by Dr. Struhs to ensure there is no confusion.
Some discomfort is expected, but if there is severe pain, loosen it back to the original position and try the next night. If the pain persists, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment.
How Long Does a Rapid Palatal Expander Stay In?
A rapid palatal expander is generally worn for six months to a year, depending on how far the palate needs to be expanded and the age of the patient.
Since adjustments are made daily, the expander can do its job quickly, allowing patients to continue their journey to a straighter smile with a desirable timeline.
Are Rapid Palatal Expanders Painful?
There might be some discomfort and soreness with the rapid palatal expander because of the pressure that is applied. Over-the-counter pain medicine should help with any initial discomfort.
Because of the subtle daily adjustments of the device, severe pain is rare and should be reported as soon as possible.
How Much Does a Rapid Palatal Expander Cost?
The price range of a rapid palatal expander is typically between $1,500 and $2,500, but can slightly vary on either side of this range depending on how far the palate needs to be expanded to allow proper growth and development. A rapid palatal expander is usually covered by insurance as it is seen as medically necessary.
Rapid Palatal Expander in Parker and Castle Rock, CO
Schedule an appointment today so we can discuss your treatment plan and get you on your way to the smile you deserve!
We are eager to help you reach your goal for a smile that is healthy, beautiful, and functional. Call us today at 303-841-2262 to schedule your FREE consultation at either one of our offices, located in Parker and Castle Rock, Colorado!