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Rapid Palatal Expander – RPE

Palatal Expander

 

Palatal expanders create more space by gradually widening the upper jaw. Children’s upper jaws develop in two separate halves. Orthodontists can take advantage of the growth process since the two halves do not fuse together until sometime after puberty.

 

 

 

Conditions for using expansion

 

 Crowding:

After your child’s orthodontic evaluation or dental exam from their pediatric dentist, crowding/ insufficient space will be diagnosed. Narrow upper jaw and impacted teeth are both associated with crowding. Widening the upper jaw can create necessary space and reduce future need for tooth extractions.

Crowding may:

  • Prevent proper cleaning of all surfaces of teeth, contributing to decay
  • Block permanent teeth from erupting
  • Make a smile less attractive
  • Prevent proper functioning of teeth
  • Contribute to wear of teeth due to improper alignment

Crossbite:

One of the things orthodontists look for in a patient’s bite is that the upper teeth are out over the top of the lower teeth. When the patient puts their teeth together in occlusion (bite), if the upper teeth are on the inside of the lower teeth, this is a crossbite. This condition in posterior teeth (back teeth) can be corrected by widening the upper jaw with an RPE.

Reasons to correct crossbites:

  • Adverse wear of the occlusion(wearing down of teeth)
  • Asymmetrical growth of the lower jaw
  • Condition can get worse over time and collapse of the dentition due to incorrect forces 
  • The bite is unstable

Expanding the upper jaw can have other benefits as well. It can shorten the over all time your child is in braces; it may improve breathing, and can be aesthetically beneficial due to broadening the smile.