Rapid Maxillary Expander/Palatal Expander

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A rapid maxillary expander is a solution to the common problems of cross-bite.  This is when your teeth don’t align horizontally.  For example it might be that your lower teeth don’t meet with your upper teeth but instead fit inside them.  This is the most common form of cross-bite, and can be easily rectified. 
This treatment is more common for children and young adults whose jaws and teeth are still developing.  Not having a correct bite can quickly lead to problems which ought to be eliminated as soon as is possible. 

The Rapid Maxillary Expander Treatment

In order to rectify a cross-bite, a maxillary expander is often used to widen the top teeth.  This is a brace which pushes on the inside of the top row of teeth, thus pushing teeth to create a better occlusion, or bite. 

There is a screw situated in the middle of the brace which is turned twice a day for the first two weeks you wear it.  This works to widen the upper jaw, so making the teeth more spread out. 

After 12 weeks minimum the brace is removed and you will have to wear a retainer instead to maintain your teeth’s position. 

The treatment can mean that the front two teeth acquire a gap between them.  This ought to rectify itself naturally or might require a further brace or orthodontic treatment to fill. 

Living with a Maxillary Expander

You are likely to experience some discomfort as the pressure is placed upon your teeth. Your tongue may feel sore due to contact with the brace.  This ought to be manageable with normal painkillers.

It is likely that you will have difficulty speaking and extra production of saliva, although this ought to pass within a week of wearing the brace.

Rapid Maxillary Expander Recovery

There is not enough time for any damage to be done to either your teeth or your jaw throughout the brace process.  It is important to maintain a high standard of oral hygiene, using a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and try to avoid sugary drinks.  If you don’t take these precautionary methods you may find you are left with stains where the brace lay.

After the retainer is no longer needed then the treatment is finished and you ought not need any other forms of brace or fixture to help with your bite.