Dr. John Young DDS of Monmouth and Ocean County Provides
Important Information on the Rapid Palatal Expander.
The Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) or Rapid Maxillary Expander (RME) may sound a little intimidating, but it’s only intended to help you. So if things like Rapid Palatal Expander Surgery, RPE side effects, or even RPE for adults scare you, don’t because it’s only intention is to give you that beautiful smile!
What is a Rapid Palatal Expander?
RPE is a device or screw that is applied on the maxilla or roof of the mouth by means of bands around the back of the teeth. It may be a Bonded Palatal Expander (BRPE) as it uses acrylic bonded for anchorage. What this does is that it separates the mid-palatal suture by stretching its bands thus widening the maxilla. This stretching is done by turning the screw with the key provided by your orthodontist.
Are Rapid Palatal Expanders necessary for me?
Rapid Palatal Expanders widen your upper jaw to fit your lower jaw. If you bite your teeth and discover that your upper teeth are inside the lower teeth in the back sections of your mouth, this is called Posterior Crossbite. And it is advisable that you consider using Rapid Palatal Expanders to treat this. Posterior Crossbite can cause the lower jaw to grow asymmetrically on that side– making your jaw too narrow.
How do I adjust my Rapid Palatal Expander?
Note that this is not and should not in any way be painful. In adjusting your RPE, it’s best to have someone else do it for you. The first step is to insert the key into the hole located in the middle of the expander. The ‘turning’ is then done by pushing it toward the throat until you see the next keyhole to appear. The RPE has a stopper so don’t worry about pushing it too deeply. Remember: you should only do two turns a day.
What happens when I have an RPE?
Rapid Palatal Expanders or Bonded Palatal Expanders will feel uncomfortable at first. There will be a mild pushing sensation against your teeth that will be caused by the bands. There will also be initial pressures on the teeth, the middle of your palate, cheeks and nose.
How about Rapid Palatal Expanders for Adults?
As mentioned, RPEs are not applicable for adults as their sutures have already been fused. This is why for adults, they should have surgical intervention to widen the palate. The surgery aims at making an incision that will weaken the maxillary bone until it is weak enough for the expander to push the sutures apart. This procedure is called Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion (SARPE).
How about a Rapid Palatal Expander for the Lower Jaw?
Here are the reasons why Rapid Palatal Expanders are not for Lower Jaws: First of all, your lower arch may have plates, but it is not similar to that of your upper jaw. Your lower arch is also not near any joint and they don’t have sutures between the bones.
Have any additional questions?
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