Playhouse Dental
651 SE Maylor Street Oak Harbor, WA 98277 360-675-4613
1204 18th Street Anacortes, WA 98221 360-588-8238

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Appliance Instructions

Rapid Palatal Expander Instructions                    Printable Version

There are two types of palatal expanders, Hyrax (with a key) and W-Arch.

What to do if you have a Hyrax:

  • The Doctor has instructed you to:
    • turn the expander _______times per day
    • for the next _________ days.
  • Place the key in the hole closest to the front teeth. Push the key back towards the throat until a new hole appears at the front.
  • If you cannot find the hole, have your child brush the expander with a toothbrush to remove debris. If you still can’t find it, you may not have completed you previous turn.
  • Complete the turn at the back of the mouth and the new hole will appear at the front.
  • Your child may take Advil or Tylenol for the next few days if they are experience discomfort from the pressure, as the expander begins to work.
  • Brush the roof of your mouth every time you eat to keep the appliance clean.
  • Do NOT get frustrated! If you cannot complete a turn, call our office and we will help.
  • If you miss an appointment, do NOT keep turning the expander unless instructed to do so. It is easy to over-expand the bite, if progress is not monitored.

What to do if you have a W-arch:

  • There is no key, the appliance will activate slowly over the course of a month.
  • You will probably notice an indentation on the tongue from the wire; this is normal and doesn’t usually cause discomfort. It will disappear when the appliance is removed.
  • Often the appliance will require a second “activation” at about a month. There may be some discomfort again for the first few days, but normally less than the first time.

With either appliance you may feel:

  • Like you have pressure in your sinuses.
  • The roof of your mouth may feel “itchy” as it stretches.
  • Your body will make extra saliva for a few days so your speech may sound “wet”.
  • Your tongue may feel thick as you learn to talk with your appliance. The more you talk, the better you will sound.
  • You may notice a space opening between the front teeth… this means PROGRESS!
  • The space will decrease after the active phase of treatment.

Active phase is usually 4-8 weeks, with quick visits every 1-3 weeks.

Retention phase is 6 months, while the skeletal changes stabilize and avoid relapse.

Call or return to clinic if the appliance becomes loose, breaks, or is hurting your child.