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.