Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is a wonderful appliance to use for patients whose upper jaw is narrow, protrusive and crowded. Your Rapid Palatal Expander gently widens the upper arch (palate) by stretching the center palatal connective suture. Once the palate is widened, the suture knits together with newly formed bone. The Rapid Palatal Expander is prescribed usually prior to completion of growth. A parent or the patient adjusts the RPE every other day as instructed until the palate has been widened enough. The (RPE) is an excellent appliance especially to help change abnormal growth patterns.
The Rapid Palatal Expander is custom made for each patient. As the key is turned you may feel some initial pressure and these symptoms:
- Tingling or itching sensation under the expander.
- Tingling sensation across the bridge of the nose.
- Pressure in the cheek area.
- Spacing between the upper front teeth.
A special key is used to activate the Rapid Palatal Expander. Follow these instructions:
- Loop the string on the key around your finger to prevent the possibility of the key being swallowed.
- Insert the key into the key hole. The key will not touch the roof of the mouth due to the key being bent.
- You want to push the key toward the back so the cylinder of the (RPE) rotates back. You want to turn the key enough so you can see the next hole to be visible at the front. Look for the next hole to rotate forward enough so you will be able to place the key for the next activation.
- Remove the key.
- Turn as you have been instructed.
A guide to remember when brushing:
- Use a Proxabrush and regular toothbrush.
- Brush as usual.
- Use a water rinse or a water pick to flush under the expander.
- The use of a Waterpik is helpful to dislodge food particles that can become caught in the expander.